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Roth vs Traditional IRA Calculator for Side-By-Side Comparison

Calculator Preferences
Roth vs Traditional IRA Calculator Sign
Roth vs Traditional IRA Calculator

This calculator will calculate the long-term, net effects of making annual contributions to a Traditional IRA versus contributing to a Roth IRA. Results include a side-by-side comparison chart and graph, as well as button for creating printer friendly report. The Learn tab includes:

  • What is a traditional IRA?
  • What is a Roth IRA?
  • What purposes are served by a Roth IRA?
Learn More

Selected Data Record:

A Data Record is a set of calculator entries that are stored in your web browser's Local Storage. If a Data Record is currently selected in the "Data" tab, this line will list the name you gave to that data record. If no data record is selected, or you have no entries stored for this calculator, the line will display "None".

DataData recordData recordSelected data record: None
Contribute/yr:Annual contribution:Annual contribution amount:Annual contribution amount (pre-tax dollars):

Annual contribution amount (pre-tax dollars):

Enter the pre-tax dollar amount of your planned contributions to a retirement investment. Enter as a dollar amount, but without the dollar sign and any commas.

The maximum annual IRA contribution was $5,500 per spouse ($6,500 if age 50 or older) the last time this calculator was updated, therefore the maximum entry in this field is $13,000.

Age now:Current age:Your current age:Your current age:

Your current age:

Enter your current age in years. Enter as an integer (no decimal points or fractions).

Retire age:Age to retire:Age you plan to retire at:Age you plan to retire at:

Age you plan to retire at:

Enter the age you plan to retire at. Enter as an integer (no decimal points or fractions).

Return rate:Rate of return:Annual return on investments:Annual return on investments:

Annual return on investments:

Enter the before-tax annual percentage rate you expect to earn on your investments between now and when you retire. Enter as a percentage, but without the percent sign (for .06 or 6%, enter 6).

Tax rate:Current tax rate:Current marginal tax rate:Current marginal tax rate:

Current marginal tax rate:

Enter your current marginal tax rate. Enter as a percentage, but without the percent sign (for .15 or 15%, enter 15).

Retire rate:Retire tax rate:Marginal tax rate at retirement:Marginal tax rate at retirement:

Marginal tax rate at retirement:

Enter the marginal tax rate you expect to be paying at retirement age. Enter as a percentage, but without the percent sign (for .15 or 15%, enter 15).

ContributionsContributionsTotal of contributionsTotal of contributions:

Total of contributions:

The results on this line are the total of your contributions between now and when you retire. Both results should be equal.

BalanceBalanceBalance at retirementBalance at retirement:

Balance at retirement:

The left-hand column is the estimated future value of a Traditional IRA.

The right-hand column is the estimated future value of a Roth IRA.

Taxes dueTaxes dueTaxes due if withdrawnTaxes due if withdrawn at retirement:

Taxes due if withdrawn at retirement:

The left-hand column is the amount of taxes that would be due on your Traditional IRA if you withdrew the funds at retirement, since tax on both contributions and earnings are deferred until the funds are withdrawn.

The right-hand column is zero, since you would have already paid taxes on the Roth IRA contributions, and the earnings are tax exempt.

Invested savingsInvested savingsInvested tax savingsValue of invested tax savings:

Value of invested tax savings:

The left-hand column is the future value of the invested tax savings you may realize by choosing a Traditional IRA instead of Roth IRA. If you choose a Roth IRA you will pay taxes on the contributions, which could be invested if you instead choose to contribute to a traditional IRA.

Of course, this is not applicable to the right-hand, Roth IRA column.

Net withdrawalNet withdrawalNet withdrawal at retirementNet withdrawal at retirement:

Net withdrawal at retirement:

The left-hand column is the estimated after-tax value of your IRA, including the value of the invested tax savings.

The right-hand column is the estimated after-tax value of a Roth IRA.

Net comparisonNet comparisonNet comparisonNet comparison:

Net comparison:

Both columns show the gain or loss that will be realized by choosing one over the other. The figures should both have the same absolute value, but the more favorable option will be positive, while the less favorable option will be negative.

If you would like to save the current entries to the secure online database, tap or click on the Data tab, select "New Data Record", give the data record a name, then tap or click the Save button. To save changes to previously saved entries, simply tap the Save button. Please select and "Clear" any data records you no longer need.

Feedback AppreciatedFeedback Greatly AppreciatedYour Feedback Would Be Greatly AppreciatedYour Feedback Is Greatly Appreciated


Help and Tools

Help and Tools:

This section, which you can Unstick or Hide in the Calculator Preferences (just above the top of the calculator), contains the following tabs (content too long to fit within bordered frame can be scrolled up and down):

About: Click this tab for an introduction to the calculator.

Instructions: Click this tab for step-by-step instructions for using the calculator.

Terms: Click this tab for a list of the descriptions that are located within each popup help button (info icons).

PCalc: Click this tab for a handy "pocket" calculator you can use when you need to calculate an entry needed for the calculator.

Data: Click this tab to save a set of entries or a note in between visits. Entries and notes will be stored to your web browser's local storage (if supported by your browser of choice), meaning they can only be recalled with the same device and web browser you were using when you saved them. If you'd like to save entries and notes between devices you can do so by subscribing to the Ad-Free Member Version.



Add or remove this page to/from my favorites.

Adjust Calculator Width:

Move the slider to left and right to adjust the calculator width. Note that the Help and Tools panel will be hidden when the calculator is too wide to fit both on the screen. Moving the slider to the left will bring the instructions and tools panel back into view.

Also note that some calculators will reformat to accommodate the screen size as you make the calculator wider or narrower. If the calculator is narrow, columns of entry rows will be converted to a vertical entry form, whereas a wider calculator will display columns of entry rows, and the entry fields will be smaller in size ... since they will not need to be "thumb friendly".

Show/Hide Popup Keypads:

Select Show or Hide to show or hide the popup keypad icons located next to numeric entry fields. These are generally only needed for mobile devices that don't have decimal points in their numeric keypads. So if you are on a desktop, you may find the calculator to be more user-friendly and less cluttered without them.

Stick/Unstick Tools:

Select Stick or Unstick to stick or unstick the help and tools panel. Selecting "Stick" will keep the panel in view while scrolling the calculator vertically. If you find that annoying, select "Unstick" to keep the panel in a stationary position.

If the tools panel becomes "Unstuck" on its own, try clicking "Unstick" and then "Stick" to re-stick the panel.