Can an Expat Missionary contribute to a Roth IRA?

Many expat missionaries claim the foreign earned income exclusion on their taxes.  This can make their AGI $0.  In this situation, are they able to  contribute to a Roth IRA?

(By the way, the Roth IRA has nothing to do with David Lee Roth).

Short answer, “No.”

The best explanation is at the Oblivious Investor.

So if you are, or plan on being, a missionary overseas, the Roth IRA will not be a savings option for you.

However, if you have a time of furlough or home assignment in the States and do not claim the foreign earned income exclusion for that year, there are several reasons you should strongly consider using a Roth IRA, even if only for that year:

  • While saving for retirement, the investment grows tax free, and you won’t pay taxes on it when you withdraw it later in retirement.
  • There are other uses for the Roth IRA besides retirement, including: housing, healthcare, and education.

<<Disclaimer:  This site is for entertainment only.  Darius is not a financial advisor, accountant, or any other type of financial professional.  No information on this site should be construed as financial advice.>>


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