How Can I Find Out the Balance of my Roth IRA?

Keeping track of the balance of your Roth IRA is an important part of managing your investments. Whether you're actively involved in managing asset allocation or your account is largely managed by your custodian, you'll want to know how much money you've contributed to the account and how much those assets have earned. A detailed balance statement can provide information about the percentage of your assets you've allocated to various funds and how these investments are performing.

Reading Your Balance Statement

When you open a Roth IRA, your trustee or custodian will let you know how often you'll receive a balance statement. You might receive a basic statement monthly or quarterly, with a more detailed statement annually. Your annual statement may include specific information about the performance of your investments. Each of your statements should provide a record of your current balance, withdrawals, fees that you've paid to your trustee and your investment gain.

If you haven't received a statement and you need to find out the balance of your Roth IRA, you can call your trustee using the customer service number provided with your account documents. You may be required to provide information that confirms your identity, such as your account number or your Social Security number. If your trustee provides online access to your account information, you can also check your balance from your personal computer.

Because contributions to a Roth IRA come from aftertax income, you may withdraw money from the funds you've contributed at any time without a penalty. However, you must meet IRS eligibility requirements in order to withdraw money from the money you've earned through your investments. When you check the balance of your Roth IRA, keep in mind that all of these funds may not be available for penalty-free withdrawal. Unless you have reached the age of 59 1/2, are buying your first home or meet other qualifications, you may not withdraw from your earnings.

Your trustee or your personal investment advisor can answer questions about the balance of your Roth IRA and the tax repercussions of withdrawing from these funds. If it isn't clear from your statement which funds you can withdraw, talk with an advisor or a financial representative before requesting a withdrawal. Otherwise you may end up paying a 10 percent tax penalty on any withdrawals that do not meet eligibility requirements.

Checking Your Balance Online

With widespread use of the internet, more investors are taking advantage of the opportunity to monitor their Roth IRA online. In order to have the option to check your balance on your computer, you must register for an online account through your trustee or custodian. Make sure that your trustee has security measures in place, like encryption and multiple password protection, to protect your account against unauthorized access.

When you check your Roth IRA balance online, you will be asked to provide your username and password in order to gain access to the trustee's website. You may also be asked to answer one or more security questions to verify your identity before you can check your most recent statement or your older statements. With an online account, you can check your most recent balance at any time from your computer at home or work. Having 24 hour access to your balance lets you stay on top of your contributions and investment gains.

These days many trustees give investors the option to eliminate paper statements. If you're comfortable checking your Roth IRA balance online, you may appreciate this "green" option. Take advantage of electronic access to check your account records at any time.

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