- 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.
LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. David Fisher is a freelance writer based in Bend, Ore. In addition to 25 years as an editor and reporter, he has worked as a professional financial adviser.