Is It Worth Opening an IRA at 50?

Is It Worth Opening an IRA at 50?

Disclaimer: We are reader supported. We may be compensated from the links in this post, if you use products or services based on our expert recommendations.

If you've started thinking of retirement too late, it can be intimidating to decide where you should invest your money. But, there is a good way to catch up on your retirement plans even if you're 50. That option is an Individual Retirement Account. You might be asking, “Is it worth it to open an IRA at 50 years old?”

The answer is yes, it's absolutely worth it. Even though you might have missed out on years of potential growth, it's never too late to start saving. In fact, if you're behind on your retirement savings, an IRA can be an excellent way to catch up.

While the idea of starting to save for retirement at 50 may seem daunting, the benefits you may receive with IRAs are worth it. In this article, we'll explore what makes opening an IRA at 50 years old worth it and what factors to consider before doing so. Aside from this, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of this retirement savings strategy. So, let's dive in and see how this decision can help you secure your financial future.

Protect Your Wealth & Get Huge Tax Saving!

Is It Worth Opening an IRA at 50?

Types of IRAs for a 50 Year Old

  • Traditional IRA - This type of account allows you to make tax-deductible contributions, meaning you can reduce your taxable income for the year. The earnings on your contributions grow tax-free until you withdraw them in retirement. If you expect to be in a lower tax bracket when you retire, then consider opening a traditional account. However, you must start taking mandatory distributions at age 72 and are subject to taxes. 
  • Roth IRA - With a Roth account, you pay taxes on your contributions upfront, but your earnings grow tax-free and you can withdraw them tax-free in retirement. This type is best for individuals who expect to be in a higher tax bracket when they retire. Take note that high earners may not be eligible to contribute to this type of account due to the income limits imposed by the IRS. You can learn more about this in the next section.
  • Self-directed IRAs - Allow investors to invest in alternative assets beyond traditional stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. These assets can include real estate, precious metals, and private equity. However, they require careful consideration and due diligence, as they come with additional risks and complexities. This type of IRA gives you greater control over your investments but also requires more active management.
  • SEP IRA - If you are still working, then a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) account might be perfect for you. It is designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners and allows you to contribute a percentage of your income each year. These contributions are tax-deductible. Many like this type of account since employers can contribute up to 25% of an employee's compensation, up to a maximum of $66,000 in 2023. However, as these are employer-managed, accountholders have limited control over their accounts.

Benefits of Opening an IRA at 50 Years Old

Opening an account at 50 years old may have some significant advantages, including the following:

Tax Advantages

One of the main benefits of opening an IRA at 50 is the potential tax advantages. Depending on the type of account you choose, you may be able to deduct your contributions from your taxable income or enjoy tax-free withdrawals during retirement. For example, a traditional account allows you to deduct contributions from your taxable income, while a Roth account offers tax-free withdrawals during retirement. Even if you are 50 years old, and nearing retirement, you can still take advantage of these tax benefits.

Ability to Catch Up on Retirement Savings

If you're starting to save for retirement at 50 years old, you may be concerned that you're behind on your savings goals. Fortunately, the IRS allows individuals who are 50 years old and above to make additional catch-up contributions to their accounts. For the tax year 2023, the catch-up contribution limit is $1,000 for traditional and Roth accounts.

No Age Limits for Contributing to an IRA

There is no age limit on contributions to traditional or Roth accounts. That means you can continue to contribute well into your 60s, 70s, and beyond, as long as you have earned income. However, there are age-related rules that you should be aware of when it comes to taking distributions from your IRA. Some of these are the early withdrawal penalties and required minimum distributions.  For Traditional IRAs, individuals must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their account starting at age 72. These RMDs are essentially the minimum amount of money that must be withdrawn from the account each year, and failure to take them can result in substantial penalties. For both Traditional and Roth IRAs, there is a 10% penalty for early withdrawals taken before age 59 ½. 

Flexibility in Choosing Investment

As someone who is starting late in saving for retirement, it's important to take advantage of multiple assets to build your retirement funds faster. An individual retirement account (IRA) can be a great option due to the flexibility it offers in terms of investment options. This can include precious metals, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs, depending on your risk tolerance and investment goals. As you're planning for retirement at 50 years old, you may want to consider assets that offer higher potential returns in the long run, but be sure to carefully evaluate the risks involved. It's also worth noting that if you're self-employed, a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) account may be a good option, but these are employer-managed and may not offer the same level of flexibility as other types of accounts. 

Drawbacks of opening an IRA at 50 Years old

While opening an account at 50 years old comes with some benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:

Less Time to Save for Retirement

Saving for retirement at 50 years old means you have less time to accumulate wealth and grow your retirement savings. This can make it challenging to reach your retirement goals, especially if you have not saved much prior to age 50.

Higher Contributions May Be Necessary

If you do not have any savings before retirement, you may need to contribute a higher percentage of your income to your IRA in order to catch up on your savings. This can be difficult if you have other financial obligations, such as paying off debt or saving for a child's education.

Less Time for Investments to Compound

The power of compound interest is one of the key advantages of starting to save for retirement early. When you start saving later in life, there is less time for your investments to compound and grow over time. This means you may have to take on more investment risk in order to potentially earn higher returns.

Market Volatility

Investing in some assets can be volatile, and later in life can leave you more vulnerable to market downturns. If you experience a significant market decline just before or during retirement, it can significantly impact your retirement savings.

Is It Worth Opening an IRA at 50?

Factors to Consider Before Opening an IRA at 50 Years Old

If you're considering opening an IRA at 50 years old, there are several factors to take into account to ensure you're making the right investment decisions.

Financial Situation

Before opening an account, it's essential to assess your financial situation. You should consider your income, expenses, debt, and emergency fund. If you have high-interest debt, it's generally a good idea to pay it off before investing in an account. Additionally, you should have sufficient emergency funds to cover unexpected expenses. Ideally, you should have three to six months' worth of living expenses saved in an easily accessible account.

Retirement Goals

You should consider when you plan to retire, how much income you'll need during retirement, and your desired lifestyle. These goals will help you determine how much you need to save and how to invest your IRA funds. Also, they can be seen as a motivating factor for you to keep on growing your savings.

Your Health

If you have health issues or a family history of medical conditions, you may need to plan for higher healthcare costs during retirement. Additionally, you should consider the impact of inflation on healthcare costs and adjust your savings accordingly.

Risk Tolerance

If you have a low-risk tolerance, you may prefer assets that offer more stable returns, such as bonds. If you have a higher risk tolerance, you may be more comfortable investing in stocks or mutual funds. It's important to choose assets that match your risk tolerance and goals.

Your Current Retirement Savings

If you're 50 and just starting to save for retirement, it's important to check how much you've already saved. Think about any plans you have such as a 401k, and any other savings you have. Knowing this will help you figure out how much more you need to save and how to allocate the money in your IRA to reach your goals.

Is It Worth Opening an IRA at 50?

IRA Asset Allocation At 50: What Should You Invest in

If you're 50 or older and planning to open an IRA account, it's important to choose assets that can help you build your retirement funds faster. Here are some of the most common types of assets you can hold in an IRA, along with some specific considerations for 50-year-old investors:


Investing in stocks can be a good way to grow your savings, but it's important to choose stocks that match your risk tolerance and goals. As a 50-year-old investor, you may want to consider holding large-cap stocks with a history of steady growth, as well as dividend-paying stocks that can provide a steady stream of income.


Bonds can offer a more stable return compared to stocks, which can be attractive to those who are closer to retirement. You may want to consider investing in bonds with shorter maturities and higher yields, such as corporate bonds or high-yield bonds.

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds can offer diversification across multiple stocks or bonds, as well as access to professional management. However, these funds come with fees and expenses that can eat into your returns. You may want to consider investing in actively managed mutual funds that focus on growth stocks these types of funds tend to be more aggressive and may offer higher returns. You can also consider target-date mutual funds that automatically adjust their asset allocation to become more conservative as you approach retirement age. 

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

ETFs can offer lower fees compared to mutual funds, as well as flexibility in buying and selling shares. However, they may have higher volatility and risk compared to mutual funds. Investing in ETFs that focus on sectors with long-term growth potential, such as technology, healthcare, or consumer goods, can be a wise choice if you have a shorter investment horizon.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

Investing in REITs can be a good way to diversify your portfolio and earn a steady stream of income through dividends. REITs are relatively liquid assets, as they are traded on major exchanges like stocks, making them easy to buy and sell. This can be especially advantageous for 50-year-olds who may be closer to retirement and need to access their funds sooner.

Precious Metals

Investing in precious metals can be a good way to diversify your portfolio and protect against inflation. If you are looking for a hedge against economic uncertainty or as a way to balance your portfolio, consider holding precious metals. However, it's important to keep in mind that the value of precious metals can be volatile, and they may not provide the same level of long-term growth potential as other assets.

Precious Metals Companies You can Look into

Investing in precious metals can be overwhelming, especially if you're new. However, with the right guidance and resources, adding precious metals to your portfolio can be a smart move for your long-term financial goals. Working with a reputable precious metals company can help you navigate the ins and outs of investing in metals, and ensure that you are making informed decisions that align with your plans. 


Augusta Precious Metals is a reliable partner for individuals interested in entering the industry. They offer customized services and expert advice to help clients navigate the complexities of gold and silver IRAs. The company is known for prioritizing honesty and trust, with clear pricing and no hidden fees. Indeed, you’ll never go wrong with this company as it has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

#2. Goldco


Goldco specializes in gold and silver IRAs, with a focus on quality service. This can be seen through their help and approachable staff. Aside from this, they are the company to work with if you are looking to save on fees as they offer free shipping and insurance. New customers can save money as the company waives fees during the first year. Lastly, their buyback program minimizes possible risks and losses as it allows clients to easily sell precious metals to the company at the best price.

American Hartford Gold is a trusted provider of gold and silver IRA investments and rollovers. They are an ideal choice for new investors, as they offer free investor kits with useful benefits to getting started. Also, the company does not require a minimum initial investment, making it accessible to individuals with limited capital. In short, their services are accessible without any upfront fees.

Overall, the types of assets you choose to hold in your IRA will depend on your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. By carefully selecting a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, REITs, and precious metals, you can create a well-diversified portfolio that meets your financial goals and helps you build your retirement funds faster. As a 50-year-old investor, it's important to work with a financial advisor to create an investment plan that takes into account your unique needs and circumstances.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, investing in an IRA at 50 is still a smart financial move. With the potential for tax benefits, the ability to save for retirement beyond employer-sponsored plans, and the opportunity for long-term growth, IRAs can provide a valuable addition to any retirement portfolio.

However, it is important to consider individual circumstances and goals before making the decision to invest in an IRA at 50 years old. For those with limited funds, high debt, or short-term financial goals, focusing on paying off debt or building an emergency fund may be a more pressing priority.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind the limitations and rules of each type of IRA, including contribution limits and withdrawal rules. Seeking the advice of a financial advisor can be beneficial in determining the best course of action for individual retirement planning.