Traditional vs Roth IRA Calculator


How Does The Traditional vs. Roth Calculator Work?

The traditional vs. The Roth calculator is designed for IRA calculations. IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. These accounts are an investment for your retirement life, enabling long-term investments. Methods described here are specific and apply only to the United States. Although several companies provide retirement accounts on their own, for those who don’t, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the federal government of the USA offers the option of opening such accounts.

Several other credits are to be calculated, like the fixed-rate mortgage calculator or the credit card payment calculator. For a full list of all our financial calculators, visit our Calculators page.

There are two ways in which you can save up for your retirement plan with the IRS, namely the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA. Let us see how they are different.

Traditional IRA

A traditional IRA is an account where you make pre-tax contributions. This plan means that your contributions to your retirement account are tax-deferred during your working days. In simpler terms, you do not pay any taxes on the money you contribute to the retirement account. However, when you make withdrawals from the same after you retire, that money will be considered as your general income, and you must pay taxes on it. The limit of contribution per month is at $6000, as of early 2020. You should also note that any withdrawals from your IRA before the age of 59½ will incur a penalty. If you are still hale and healthy at the age of 70½, you have to withdraw money from the IRA, regardless of existing conditions.

In short, the major takeaway is that if you believe that you will be in the same tax bracket as you are currently, even after retirement, the tax amount you pay will still be the same anyway. If you are in a tax bracket higher, you will have to keep paying more taxes, and that is not useful.

Roth IRA

Named after its sponsor, Senator Roth Williams, a Roth IRA is an account where you make after-tax contributions. This provision means that your contributions to your retirement account grow tax-free. In simpler terms, you pay the tax on your contributions upfront, so you don’t have to pay taxes after your retirement. However, there are no tax benefits that you will enjoy on other sources of income after that age. There is, however, no age restrictions to when you can make your contributions. The maximum contribution can only be $6000 as of early 2020. But, if you’re 50 or more in 2020, you can add up to $7000. On Roth IRA accounts, there is no age restriction on your contributions nor your mandatory distributions.

To sum it up, the takeaway is that if you are confident of being in a tax bracket higher than your current one when you retire and therefore would rather not waste your money in your retirement age, Roth IRA’s the best option for you.

What Are The Parameters In The Calculator

There are six different parameters or inputs that the calculators entail, and they are all pretty self-explanatory by nature. Contributions mean the amount you deposit when you’re working, and withdrawals are the amount you take after retirement. Withdrawals can also be called distribution. With that in mind, the parameters are namely, Tax Rate During Contribution, Tax Rate During Retirement, Yearly Rate of Return, Basis for Yearly Contribution, Years of Contribution, and Years of Withdrawal. Note that the basis is the amount that you deposit into your account. It is imperative to understand that the calculator does not take into account any change in tax patterns or your payment patterns. It is considered that the tax percentage and the amount you pay every year remains the same throughout the contribution period.

What Does The Calculator Tell You?

The calculator splits the results into two separate tables; traditional IRA based results, followed by the Roth IRA results. The traditional IRA calculation has six results that are listed, and they are as follows.

Yearly Contribution (Traditional)

For traditional IRA, this amount is just equal to the amount you entered for Basis for Yearly Contribution as there will no tax charged on the amount of money that you’re putting in. In general, this is the amount of money you are depositing into your retirement account every year.

Yearly Contributions (Roth)

It is very similar compared to the traditional value, except it will be slightly lesser. As tax has already been levied on your existing bases, the amount credited into your account will be one after reducing the tax rates of the current age from the value. For instance, if your basis was $5000 and the tax rate during contribution is 25%, the tax levied is $1250. So, that value gets subtracted from the basis, and the account will get credited with $3750 every year.

Value At Retirement

This sum is the amount of money that your retirement account will have, the day you retire. It includes the total of all your base yearly contribution, compounded with the yearly interest that you received over the years of contribution. This calculation can get a little complicated manually, as the principal amount gets added on a bit rather than your usual compound interest calculation, but the calculator takes care of it. This calculation applies regardless of whether the IRA is traditional or Roth; only the value of the changing principal will differ.

Yearly Withdrawal

The yearly withdrawal is the average of the maximum amount of money that you can withdraw from your account each year so that you are left with a clean slate only at the end of the years of withdrawal. However, remember that this sum is before you pay your post-retirement taxes if you have a traditional account. So, when you take this money out, you cannot splurge it all, but instead, you must keep a bit aside for taxes. On the other hand, if you have a Roth account, all this money can be used by you for your expenses.

Tax on Withdrawals

Since traditional IRAs are tax-deferred during contribution, the taxes are usually levied later on. This amount is easy to calculate as it is just the product of the yearly withdrawal amount with the Tax Rate after Retirement that you had entered in the calculator early on. Since Roth IRA does not demand any tax on withdrawals, this row is absent in the Roth IRA table.

Yearly Take Home

Since it is expected of you to pay your taxes on the retirement money for traditional IRAs, you will lose a part of it as taxes, and the money that you can take back for your usage is called the yearly take home. It is only the tax on withdrawals subtracted from the annual withdrawals, both of which are also displayed on the screen. If you have a Roth IRA, since you have no taxes, these values are equal to the yearly withdrawal amount.

Compared To Roth/Compared to Traditional

This calculation is the make-or-break one. When you are figuring out which retirement plan to choose, the multitude of numbers can become overbearing. However, to simplify it, the calculator returns a percentage on what your gains will be with the same tax conditions if you had chosen the Roth IRA instead of the traditional or vice versa. Note that this is a rather complicated calculation as several factors of the values presented above are taken into consideration; it is manually not spelled out. But be assured that the calculator has the best interests at heart.


Finally, what is essential to consider is the tax bracket you will be in the future. Roth IRA leaves you with gross income, which steadily declines after retirement. Taxable income, however, might not. You can have additional jobs even if you retire from your primary job and pay taxes on that on your social security benefits. If you have no income or commitments, you will lose out on a lot of tax benefits, deductions, and credits. Therefore, if you are sure that you will be in the same or lower tax bracket than your current one in retirement, a traditional IRA is the best option.

If you are sure you will belong to a higher tax bracket at your retirement, the Roth IRA is the better option. You can enjoy the tax benefits guaranteed right now and not have the hassles of paying taxes or at least limit it to paying taxes only on the other sources of income that you may have.

At the end of the day, the brokerages function as keepers and custodians for Roth and conventional IRAs. The parameters like minimums, fees, and terms are the same for both. You must weigh the pros and cons when making this big decision in your life, and our Traditional vs. Roth IRA calculator is right by your side to clear out any inconveniences you may face in that decision.