Ten Steps to Seven Figures

Barbara O’Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management

Rutgers Cooperative Extension


April 2019

Ten Steps to Seven Figures

One of the most frequently cited purposes of investing is to build wealth for future financial goals such as a new car, a college education for children, and financial security in later life. Many people even have a specific dollar amount in mind such as having $1 million saved by the time that they stop working. 


Below are ten recommendations to …

At What Age Can I Avoid the Social Security Earnings Limit?

The earnings limit for Social Security benefits no longer applies once you reach your full retirement age (FRA). For people born between 1943 and 1954, FRA is age 66. Therefore, the earnings limit will no longer apply to you once you reach age 66. FRA for those born in 1960 and later is age 67. The 2017 earnings limit for Social Security beneficiaries who have not reached their FRA is $16,920.

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Can Money Withdrawn From a 403(b) Plan in Retirement Be Put Into a Roth IRA?

It depends. You must have earned income to contribute to an IRA of any type, including a Roth IRA. This means that you must have a salary, hourly wage, or net earnings from consulting or a small business.

If you have earned income, the maximum amount that a person over age 50 can deposit in 2017 in a Roth IRA is the larger of 100% of earnings or $6,500 (the regular $5,500 contribution plus an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution). Roth …

If You Have Not Earned the Maximum Amount Allowed to be Contributed to an IRA, Can You Still Contribute That Amount?

You are allowed to contribute the greater of 100% of your earned income (salary or wages from a job or self-employment income) or $5,500 to a Roth and/or traditional IRA in 2017. If you are age 50 by year’s end, or older, you can contribute up to an extra $1,000 ($6,500 total).

However, if you earn less than $5,500 by the end of the calendar year, you can only contribute up to the amount of your annual earnings.

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Can You Split Your IRA Contribution Between Both a Traditional and a Roth IRA?

Yes, as long as the total amount of your contributions to more than one IRA does not exceed the maximum annual contribution limit which, in 2017, is $5,500 for workers under age 50 and $6,500 (with an additional $1,000 catch-up amount) for workers age 50 and over by year-end.

Be sure to check the administrative fees and minimum deposit requirements of your IRA plan custodian(s), however. Multiple accounts could mean that you’ll be charged multiple fees to administer your IRA …

What Are the Income Restrictions to Qualify to Contribute to a Roth IRA?

Below are the income restrictions for 2017 Roth IRA contributions:

• Roth IRAs are fully available to single filers whose adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $118,000. No participation is allowed if your AGI is more than $133,000. Thus, the phase-out range, where contributions are limited in gradual steps as income increases, is between $118,000 and $133,000.

• Roth IRAs are fully available to joint filers whose AGI is less than $186,000. There is a phase-out range between $186,000 …

What Are the Minimum and Maximum Amounts That Can be Saved Each Year in an IRA?

Federal tax law limits 2017 contributions to a traditional and/or Roth IRA to $5,500 for a worker with earned income ($6,500 for those who are age 50 or older before the end of the year). An additional $5,500 can also be saved for a worker’s spouse, regardless of whether or not the spouse is employed. In addition, spouses who are age 50 or older can contribute an additional $1,000 ($6,500 total) for a total of $13,000 of contributions if both …

How Does Your Age Determine the Amount of Your Social Security Benefit?

Basically, the longer you wait to claim a Social Security benefit, the more money you will receive. Under current Social Security guidelines, the earliest age that you can collect benefits is age 62. However, benefits at age 62 are permanently reduced by 25%. For example, if your monthly benefit at age 66 is $1,000, you would receive only $750 at age 62.

If you wait until age 70 to start collecting benefits, the amount you will receive is 132% of …

What Are the Income Restrictions to Qualify for a Deductible Traditional IRA?

People with earned income who are not in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, regardless of income level, may qualify for a tax deductible traditional IRA. Another group of taxpayers who can deduct a traditional IRA contribution in full are those with an employer-sponsored plan who have incomes in 2017 under $62,000 (single) and $99,000 (married couples filing jointly). The phase-out ranges (where contributions are limited in gradual steps as income increases) for singles and couples are $62,000 to $72,000 and $99,000 …