Contribute the Maximum

Current IRA regulations allow you to contribute up to $5,500 per year to an IRA. (Note: If you have both a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA, the total annual contribution cannot exceed these limits. Check with your financial or tax adviser for more details.)

You should take full advantage of this limit if possible, and work hard to increase your annual contributions as these limits increase. You can use our "How Will Higher Contributions Affect You?" calculator to see how the changes in limits could affect your retirement.

You might be able to open an IRA account with a lower initial investment than a regular taxable account. This brings IRAs within reach of many people.

Also, if you spread the $5,500 over a year, it comes out to $458.33 a month. Automatic investment programs make investing easy by automatically debiting your checking account each month if you choose this option. However, a program of regular investment cannot assure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market.

IRAs are great vehicles to build a retirement fund in a tax-deferred environment. Do yourself a favor and take full advantage of this benefit.

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