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Q: When the IRS says you can contribute an additional amount to a Roth IRA once you turn 50, do they mean as long as you turn 50 by Dec 31?
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A:

Yes, for the purposes of the increased contribution limit, you need to turn 50 at any time during the calendar year you intend to make the contribution.

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Important Roth Information

Each year, the IRS updates the rules for Roth IRA. Here are all the details for 2013 & 2014: