Roth contribution for non-working spouse

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    I am interested in the notion of how if one spouse is working and the other is not, that the earnings of the first spouse can be used to satisfy the “earned income” requirement for both spouses’ Roth IRA contributions (if they file jointly).

    The language I’ve been able to find is a little squirrelly. Is it simply that the non-worker can make a Roth contribution based on the worker’s earned income (minus the worker’s own contribution, of course) ? Some research suggests that the working spouse must open a “spousal Roth”, instead of it simply being a contribution to the non-worker’s existing Roth (from their working years). And that the worker must be the one that makes the contribution, however that would be determined.

    Kaye Thomas

    Most of what you’ve read is misleading or incorrect. We have a page explaining this topic:

    Spousal Roth IRA

    Key points:

    • There really isn’t any such thing as a spousal IRA. This is just a term that’s sometimes used when relying on a spouse’s earned income to qualify for the contribution. The contribution can go to an existing IRA to which other contributions have been made.
    • There is no requirement for the contribution to come from the worker.
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