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Is there a limit as to how many IRA's one can have?

If I had $50,000, could I put $5000 into 10 IRA's with ten different brokers

Apr 13, 2014 by Stephen from Charlottesville, VA in  |  Flag
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6 votes
Peter C. Karp Level 20

Hi Stephen,

I agree with the previous responses in that you can indeed have multiple IRA accounts.

While it is often advisable to consolidate your IRA accounts for ease of operation, keep in mind that different types of IRA accounts (ROTH, SEP, etc.) provide different benefits and depending on your overall circumstances. Accordingly, it may be beneficial to contribute to different accounts so that you can have diversified types of income in retirement. Nevertheless, contribution and income limits can impact whether your contribution is deductible.

I suggest you consult with your tax professional to determine how you can make tax-leveraged contribution(s) to an IRA account in light of your bigger tax picture.

Feel free to call us with any questions at 415-345-8185.

Best, Peter Karp

Disclosure: The posted information is for informational purposes only. This message does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. All opinions and estimates constitute Karp Capital's judgment as of the date of the report and are subject to change without notice. Accordingly, no representation or warranty, expressed or otherwise, is made to, and no reliance should be placed on, the fairness, accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information contained herein. Securities offered through Financial Telesis Inc., member SIPC/FINRA. Financial Telesis Inc. and Karp Capital Management are not affiliated companies.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 16, 2014 from San Francisco, CA

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4 votes

An interesting question. Why would you want so many different accounts? Keep in mind an IRA is only a type of account. Your investments are held in this account. So, if it's diversification you are after, within one account you can hold 10 (or more) different investments. The hassle of tracking and reporting on 10 different accounts would be burdensome.

There are limits on the amount of $ contributions you can put into an IRA every year. It is either $5,500 or $6,500 if you are over the age of 50. There are also income limitations.

Check out this article for some good points to consider. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/many-ira-accounts-can-one-person-have-682.html

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 13, 2014 from Minneapolis, MN

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4 votes

Ok, just clarify. Yes you could, not sure why you would. The annual contribution limit applies to all iras combined, so you can't contribute more money by having more accounts if that is what you are thinking.

2 Comments   |  Flag   |  Apr 13, 2014 from Bridgewater, NJ
Colin

I think you're right James...I think Stephen is asking not because he's seeking diversification but because he thinks that by having so many IRAs w/ different brokers, he will be able to skirt the IRS annual contribution limit. If that's the case Stephen, when the IRS finds out, I believe you'll be required to take the money back and there is a fee/penalty for doing so I believe.

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Flag |  Apr 14, 2014 near Oak Creek, WI
Tunc Tanin

And the IRS will catch this very easily and broker dealers report IRA contributions to IRS by SSN and the amount contributed electronically. It wont take very long for IRS to find out you over contributed for a particular SSN. They will send a corresponding audit letter within the first year of over contributing.

Flag |  Oct 01, 2014 near Somerville, MA

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4 votes

Stephen,

If you are trying to contribute more than the allowable amount for a calendar tax year, then no you cannot. As others have noted, the maximum contribution for 2013 or 2014 is $5,500 or $6,500 if you're over 50 years old. On the other hand, if you are just trying to split an existing account with multiple brokers, then you may do that.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 14, 2014 from Newport Beach, CA

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3 votes
Rich Winer Level 20

There is no limit to how many IRAs you can have. Reasons to have more than one IRA might include:

1) They are managed by different advisors/money managers employing unique or different investment strategies, 2) You, yourself, are using different strategies in different accounts. For example, you might invest one IRA account in a diversified portfolio of mutual funds and a second IRA account in individual stocks. 3) One IRA account might be managed by an investment advisor while you are managing another account on your own.

Other than those reasons, I can't think of any reasons to have too many IRA accounts. I would recommend having as few as you feel are needed to meet your financial goals. No sense in making your life more complex than is necessary by having too many IRA accounts (or non-IRA accounts).

To be candid, $50,000 is not enough money to split up among different brokers or advisors. With that amount of money, I would try to find one good advisor who will invest your IRA assets in a diversified portfolio of mutual funds. That would simplify your accounting and give you diversification among a number of good mutual fund managers. The more financial advisors you work with, the more likely you will end up confused by conflicting advice and recommendations. Find one advisor you like and trust.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 13, 2014 from Woodland Hills, CA

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3 votes

Stephen,

All the other advisers are absolutely correct with their statements regarding diversification by various broker or investment accounts/statements is not going to help you create an integrated portfolio that has proper diversification, low investment costs, low trading costs and improved risk adjusted returns. Plus more importantly, depending on the custodian(s) you utilize, you may have to pay a $50-75 account closing cost in the future when you consolidate or close each account after you realize its easier to follow the performance and manage one account. I recommend you find a fee based adviser who uses low cost ETF's to create a properly diversified, risk appropriate, fully transparent, fully liquid and a cost efficient portfolio for you. Thanks for asking this investment question before you invested your hard earned retirement dollars!

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 13, 2014 from Milwaukee, WI

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3 votes
Carlos P. Sava Level 12

Given that we are coming up on the tax deadline, I am going to answer the question I think you may have meant to ask, 'Can I open or deposit $50k into multiple IRA accounts?' The IRS sees through that type of effort for tax avoidance or benefit. An individual can contribute a maximum of $5,500 in 2013 and 2014 to eligible IRA accounts. This amount is $6,500 if you are aged 50 or older. Per the IRS website, "Excess contributions are taxed at 6% per year as long as the excess amounts remain in the IRA.". You really want to avoid this! It would likely erode any tax benefits of the account to nothing or be detrimental.
I concur with the other observations that fees, visibility, and missing out on preferential benefits make having so many accounts unnecessarily burdensome and negative.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 14, 2014 from Arlington, VA

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2 votes

There are no limits on how many of the same type of accounts like and IRA you could have open at different or the same brokerage firm. It can be difficult to track many accounts at different firms and when you start to have assets over certain levels you can gain access to lower cost fund options and other premium services.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 13, 2014 from Leawood, KS

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