A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that was established under the tax payer relief act of 1997 and was named after the it’s cheif legislative sponser William Roth. There are key differences between the Roth IRA and a traditional IRA. First contributions are not tax defferable and may be widthdrawn without penalty after a seasoning period and other conditions are met. A traditional IRA widthdrawls are always taxed as ordinary income and penalties apply if you width draw before 59 1/2. Direct contributions may be widthdrawn at any age since that money has already been taxed. However, any growth or amount higher than what you originally put in is not tax free if widthdrawn early.