What You Should Know About Retirement Savings Options for Non-Working Spouses

What You Should Know About Retirement Savings Options for Non-Working Spouses
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(This article originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)


Non-working spouses provide a lot of value for a family, but that value doesn’t show up in the form of a paycheck. And because there’s no paycheck, it can seem like there is no way to build tax-advantaged retirement savings for a non-working spouse.


Thankfully, there are options to build retirement savings even if you don’t work, or if you don’t work much.


Families can fund an individual retirement account (IRA) for non-working spouses, as long as the other spouse has enough earned income to contribute for both of them. It can be called a spousal IRA, but it’s just a regular IRA. You can use one that you already have, or open a new IRA with your preferred provider.


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If the spouse has any self-employment income, they can also open a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or individual 401(k) account. Each account has different rules, paperwork, and limits, but one will suit your needs. These can be opened with any brokerage.


A third option is to get a part-time job specifically so that you can contribute to a retirement account. If this is your plan, find a company that allows you to contribute quickly and hopefully provides company matching funds for your contribution.


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Saving money for a non-working spouse’s retirement can help bolster your entire family’s financial future. Take advantage of these options to get the tax advantages of these special accounts.



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About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell

Horrell is a personal financial educator and military spouse. Get more finance tips at KateHorrell.com.