Can 72-year-old contribute to an IRA?

Q: I am 72 and work part time. I earned $15,000 from my part-time job last year. Can I contribute to an IRA for the 2003 tax year? D.W., Jacksonville, Fla.

A: You can contribute to a Roth IRA because you’ll face no age restriction or mandatory distribution rule for Roths. But you can no longer contribute to a traditional IRA beginning with the year you turn age 70 1/2. Note that you must begin taking minimum distributions from an existing IRA by no later than April 1 of the year after the year you turn 70 1/2. Tip: With either a traditional or a Roth IRA, your annual contribution can’t exceed the lesser of your earned income or $3,500 for taxpayers age 50 or older ($3,000 for other taxpayers).