Age Limitations to Consider When Handling IRAs

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF® | Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on January 04, 2023

Age matters.

Age is a large contributing factor when it comes to retirement savings.

It defines when your funds can be accessible or how much money you can contribute to your retirement accounts depending on the type of retirement account that you have chosen.

Age Limits for IRAs in Terms of Contributions

The age limit for IRA contributions differs on what type of IRA account you are holding.

Traditional IRAs

Contributions to traditional IRAs can be made at any age.

Roth IRAs

There is no age limit set for Roth IRA contributions.


Just like Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs do not have age limits in terms of contributions made to the account.

Employers will not be restricted from contributing to your SEP IRA plans regardless of your age.


No age limit is set for SIMPLE IRAs in terms of making contributions to the plan.

This likewise means that employers should make matching or non-elective contributions to the plan no matter how old you are.

Age Limits for IRAs in Terms of RMDs

Specific age limits also apply in terms of the required minimum distributions (RMDs) per each type of IRA account.

Traditional IRAs

RMDs for traditional IRAs apply at 70 1/2 or 72 depending on when you were born.

Roth IRAs

Generally, there is no RMD set for Roth IRAs except for beneficiaries of the account in order for them to avoid penalties.


RMD should begin at age 72 or 70 1/2 years depending on when you were born.


Just like SEP IRAs, the plan owner has to start taking RMDs when he reaches the age of 70 1/2 or 72 largely depending on his or her birthdate.

Other Age Limit Considerations for IRAs

Age Limits for IRAs in Terms of Rollovers, Conversions, or Transfers

No matter which type of retirement account you have, no age limits are set when it comes to the processing of rollovers, conversions, or transfers. These transactions may be done at any time.

At what age can I start contributing to my IRA?

Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs do not impose a specific age when one can start making contributions to the account.

On the other hand, SEP IRAs have set 21 years as the age when one can start making contributions to the account.

At what age can I start accessing my retirement funds?

In general, most retirement plans only charge penalties when funds are withdrawn prior to reaching the age of 59 1/2.

If one has reached that mark or is faced with certain circumstances, the IRS will waive the early withdrawal penalty.

In terms of after-tax contributions to Roth IRAs, withdrawals may be made from the contributions without suffering the penalties since the contributions have already been taxed initially.

The 10% penalty will still apply if the withdrawal was made from the earnings of the account prior to reaching the age of 59 1/2.

Final Thoughts

No matter which type of retirement account you have, age limits should always be considered.

This is because it will determine how much money you can access after reaching a certain age or whether or not you will be charged penalties for withdrawing funds from your IRA accounts before the designated time frame has passed.



What happens to my IRA if I suffer from a permanent disability?

Generally, there is no specific answer to this question since the treatment of disabilities varies on a case-to-case basis. It will all depend on your condition and your financial status at that time. In most cases, the penalty fees imposed by the IRS after making early withdrawals may be waived since you suffered from a severe condition that can greatly affect your ability to work.

Why must I start taking RMDs at a certain age?

RMDs are required so that people do not overstay in the market and continue to accumulate funds in their accounts. This will allow them to have enough money after retiring without having to depend on Social Security benefits or being forced by circumstances to withdraw from retirement funds prior to reaching the age of 59 1/2. If this rule is applied, it means that you can rely on your savings for living expenses once you stop working and leave the workforce permanently.

Why should my employer make my IRA contributions on my behalf?

Contributions made by your employer to your IRA account can help grow your funds tax-free. This means that you don't have to pay taxes until you make withdrawals after reaching the age of 59 1/2 or when you decide to leave the workforce permanently.

Can I withdraw money from my traditional IRA before turning 591//2 without penalty?

Yes, depending on certain circumstances - for example, if you are diagnosed with a permanent disability or meet other requirements that may allow you to waive the early withdrawal penalties imposed by the IRS. Otherwise, do not try taking out any retirement savings prior to reaching this age if possible since doing so will result in penalties and may even cause more financial problems than you originally had.

Who sets the rules regarding IRA distributions?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets all IRA distribution rules, including age limits and penalty fees associated with early withdrawals from IRAs.

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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