Can You Contribute to an IRA After Retirement? Understanding Your Options

February 20, 20246 min read
Can You Contribute to an IRA After Retirement? Understanding Your Options
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Key Takeaways

  • Retirees may generally continue to fund their IRA with part-time earnings, but they must contribute less than what they earned that year. 
  • One of the primary benefits of contributing to an IRA post-retirement is a padded nest egg.
  • Retirees may contribute to a Roth IRA an amount that is equal to or less than their earnings.

Retirees and others for whom retirement is nigh may wonder, “can I continue contributing to my IRA after work stops?” It’s a common question. After all, the retirement account helps to maximize financial security and offers tax advantages.

The overall answer is yes — to a certain extent. This article clarifies post-retirement traditional and Roth IRA eligibility and contribution limits, providing options for maintaining and enhancing one’s financial wellbeing. It also introduces IRA opportunities with Yieldstreet.

Contributing to a Traditional IRA in Retirement

Generally, retirees may continue to fund their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if they are employed part time or self-employed. However, they must contribute less than their earnings that year. The money must derive from services performed — not from dividends, capital gains, rental payments, or royalties.

Retirees who have no employment may not continue to make annual contributions. What they can do is convert some or all of an employer-sponsored 401(k) account to an IRA or shift an IRA from one financial institution to another. There is no age limit to do so. Retirees are also free to change their investment strategy.

Contributing to a Roth IRA in Retirement

Likewise, retirees may contribute to a Roth IRA an amount that is equal to or less than their earnings, generally meaning wages from employment or earned income from self-employment. There is no age limit for contributing.

Note that for 2024, single Roth IRA filers must have a modified adjusted gross income of no more than $161,000, according to a Jan. 13, 2024 Kiplinger report.

The purpose of Roth IRAs is to help individuals save for their Golden Years, since qualified distributions of the gains on the account’s investments are tax advantaged later.

Pros and Cons of IRA Contributions in Retirement

As with most everything in the finance or investing space, there are potential benefits and drawbacks to contributing to an IRA in retirement. Ultimately, there is no single rule about whether funding an IRA in retirement is a good idea. It depends on the individual’s situation.


  • The primary benefit is that retirees can pad their retirement nest egg.
  • Contributing to an IRA in retirement can also help the individual spend less. Developing the discipline to set aside money for contributions can help individuals reduce other expenses.
  • A lower tax bracket. Why? Because a traditional IRA is funded with pre-tax dollars. Funding a Roth IRA post retirement permits savings to increase tax free since contributions were made with after-tax money.


  • Earned income does not include Social Security payments or other forms of compensation.
  • Most retirees are on a fixed income, even if they have a relatively small amount of earnings. Setting aside money may cause hardship and can diminish savings.
  • The individual may not be able to liquidate or easily access their IRA.

Opening a New IRA in Retirement

There are no age restrictions for opening an IRA. Thus, a new retirement account may be opened after a person retires.

Be mindful, though, that contributions may only come from earned income, and limits still apply. If the person earned less than $8,000 in 2024, they may only contribute as much as they make.

Contributing to an IRA While on Social Security

Only earned income may be contributed to an IRA. Social Security benefits are ineligible. Thus, while a $1,000 received from consulting would qualify, $1,000 in monthly Social Security benefits would not.

There is a misperception that contributing to an IRA after beginning to collect Social Security is not allowed. Such contributions are indeed permissible.

How Much Can a Retired Person Contribute to an IRA?

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service establishes inflation-adjusted contribution limits. The limit for 2024 for traditional and Roth IRAs is $7,000, up from $6,500. Those age 50 or older may contribute $8,000, after adding an additional $1,000 in “catch up” contributions. Note that beginning with the 2024 tax year, the catch-up amount will be indexed to inflation.

In some cases, married couples that file jointly may contribute to an IRA based on the taxable compensation on the joint return. So, a person filing jointly may contribute to a retirement account even if they had no taxable earnings — as long as their spouse did. Each spouse may contribute up to the existing limit. Note, though, that the combined contribution total may not exceed the amount of earnings on the joint return.

For the year 2020 and after, there is no age limit on contributing to traditional or Roth IRAs.

The Yieldstreet IRA

Retirees who wish to diversify their investment portfolios with less volatility have Yieldstreet’s IRA as an option. 

Yieldstreet aims to offer the retirement program as a way to maximize prospects for higher returns through the addition of private-market investments to their tax-favored account.

From art to real estate, Yieldstreet has more alternative asset classes available for IRAs than anyone, with extensive opportunities and easy startup. In fact, more than 85% of Yieldstreet’s asset classes are available to retirement accounts.

Yieldstreet’s program supports all major accounts. As such, individuals may easily transfer all or a portion of a traditional, Roth, SIMPLE, or SEP IRA, or contribute new funding. If they have multiple IRAs, those may be seamlessly rolled over as well. People may also roll over their 401(k) account. 

Generally, tax-advantaged retirement accounts are good matches for alternatives, with their potential for private-market income and growth. Increasingly, those seeking more diverse holdings to minimize risk are turning to the private market for potentially better returns.

Yieldstreet IRA

Strengthen your future with a private market IRA.

Alternative Investments and Portfolio Diversification

Alternatives can be a good way to help accomplish this. Traditional portfolio asset allocation envisages a 60% public stock and 40% fixed income allocation. However, a more balanced 60/20/20 or 50/30/20 split, incorporating alternative assets, may make a portfolio less sensitive to public market short-term swings.

Real estate, private equity, venture capital, digital assets, precious metals and collectibles are among the asset classes deemed “alternative investments.” Broadly speaking, such investments tend to be less connected to public equity, and thus offer potential for diversification. Of course, like traditional investments, it is important to remember that alternatives also entail a degree of risk.

In some cases, this risk can be greater than that of traditional investments.

This is why these asset classes were traditionally accessible only to an exclusive base of wealthy individuals and institutional investors buying in at very high minimums — often between $500,000 and $1 million.  These people were considered to be more capable of weathering losses of that magnitude, should the investments underperform. However, that meant the potentially exceptional gains these investments presented were also limited to these groups.

To democratize these opportunities, Yieldstreet has opened a number of carefully curated alternative investment strategies to all investors. While the risk is still there, the company offers help in capitalizing on areas such as real estate, legal finance, art finance and structured notes — as well as a wide range of other unique alternative investments.

Moreover, investors can get started with a relatively small amount of capital. Yieldstreet has opportunities across a broad range of asset classes, offering a variety of yields and durations, with minimum investments as low as $10000.

Learn more about the ways Yieldstreet can help diversify and grow portfolios.


Managing one’s IRA after retirement is integral to optimizing the tax benefits and overall financial security the retirement account offers. It is integral to understand eligibility requirements, the pros, and cons of continued contributions, and how to open an IRA in retirement. Consulting with a financial advisor is a good idea.

Consider, too, Yieldstreet’s IRA as a private-market solution for retirees seeking to diversify their portfolios.

We believe our 10 alternative asset classes, track record across 470+ investments, third party reviews, and history of innovation makes Yieldstreet “The leading platform for private market investing,” as compared to other private market investment platforms.

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