Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs as they are more commonly referred to, can be a great retirement tool for both spouses in a marriage. But each spouse must have their own IRA, as joint accounts are not allowed.
An Individual Retirement Account is exactly as its name implies: a retirement account for an individual. That's why the Internal Revenue Service prohibits joint accounts.
It is possible for both spouses of a marriage to have their own IRAs, even if just one of the two is employed, provided they file their federal income taxes jointly.
When just one spouse works, that person must make enough money to cover the contributions of both, as there must be earned income equal to or greater than the amount of an IRA contribution.
There are income limitations for married couples filing a joint return. If the couple's combined adjusted gross income exceeds $177,000 in 2010, neither will be able to contribute to a Roth IRA.
IRAs were introduced to the public in 1974 as part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.