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Spousal IRA Definition

Spousal IRAs let stay-at-home spouses contribute the full amount allowed to an individual retirement account in any given year -- even if they earn no personal income -- as long as their husband or wife earns enough to cover their contribution. Contributions can be made to either a traditional or to a Roth IRA, subject to the usual income caps and contribution limits.

Once spousal IRA money is contributed, it belongs to the non-wage-earning spouse, regardless of where the money came from. The wage-earning spouse need only earn enough income to cover the IRA contribution, as well as any other retirement plan contributions the family makes in a given year.

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