Question: My wife is a teacher and has a 403b. We also have a Roth IRA set up for her as well. My accountant says that she can only have the 403b plan. I had my financial advisor look into it, he said she can have both as long as we don't make over $169,000. Can you shed some light on the subject at hand. Thank you for your time. Jeff, Goleta, CA
Answer: Your financial advisor is right: She can contribute to a Roth (in addition to her 403(b)) so long as your household comes under the Roth income limits.
For married couples filing jointly for calendar year 2010, the full contribution to a Roth starts phasing out when adjusted income reaches $167,000. You can't contribute at all with a combined income of $177,000 or more. (For single filers, the comparable figures are $105,000 to $120,000.)
The contribution limits for 2010 are $5,000 for those 49 years old and under. It's $6,000 if you're age 50 or more.