• First, an individual can make contributions to a Roth IRA regardless of age.
• Second, distributions can be made completely tax free, as long as they are qualified distributions (generally, distributions made more than five years after the contribution that are made after the owner has attained age 59½, died, or become disabled, and distributions for certain special purposes, including the purchase of a first home).
• Third, the owner is not required to take lifetime distributions, so the tax-free buildup can continue throughout the owner’s life.
• Fourth, distributions of contributions are always tax free, no matter when they are made.
In contrast, contributions to a traditional IRA can not be made by a person who has attained age 70½ by the end of the year, distributions are fully taxable, except to the extent they represent the return of after-tax contributions, and a traditional IRA is subject to the minimum distribution rules, so the owner must begin receiving distributions in the year following the year in which the owner turns 70½ and take them over a prescribed period.