As Morningstar's Christine Benz notes, there are many things about investing you can't control, so it's doubly important to focus on what you can--such as limiting your investment costs and making sure you're maximizing all of the tax-advantaged options that are available to you. That means maximizing investments to your 401(k) and also funding an IRA if you're eligible.
This year, you have until April 18 to make an IRA contribution for the 2010 tax year. That money will compound on a tax-free or tax-deferred basis, and it can really add up: If, starting today, you contributed $5,000 annually to an IRA for the next 20 years and you earned 7% on that money, you'd have more than $200,000 at the end of the period.
Even if you're already convinced that saving in an IRA is sensible, you still have a little bit of research to do. There are two main types of IRA accounts to compare, but investors may also want (or need) to consider conversions, rollovers, or contribution recharacterizations. Next, you must identify what kinds of assets are best for an IRA, and then which specific investments to include in the account.
Over the next week, Christine, along with our analyst and strategist team, will help get you going from the basics of choosing an IRA to the nitty-gritty of investment-selection to practical tips for managing IRAs as part of a broader retirement portfolio plan. Along the way, we'll help you chart a plan for conversions, rebalancing, sequencing withdrawals, incorporating IRAs in an estate plan, and much more.
We hope you can visit us each day of IRA Improvement Week, but in case you miss anything, you can find links to all of our coverage on this page, which we will update every morning with each day's article and video reports.
Mon. Feb. 14 | IRA New-Users Guide
- Find the Right IRA in Three Easy Steps
- IRA Income and Contribution Limits
- IRA Dos and Don'ts
- What Not to Put in Your IRA
- A Second Chance at IRA Contributions
- IRA vs 401(k): How to Decide
Tues. Feb. 15 | Conversions and Rollovers
- The Ins and Outs of IRA Conversions
- IRA Conversion Fact Sheet
- Undoing an IRA Conversion
- Confused About Roth Conversion? Hedge Your Bets
- Ask the Expert: Ed Slott Answers Questions on IRA Conversions (Video)
Three Questions to Ask Before an IRA Conversion
Roth Conversion Tips and Traps
How to Fund a Backdoor Roth IRA
Should You Convert Your 401(k) to a Roth?
- What You Need to Know About 401(k) Rollovers
Wed. Feb. 16 | Retirement Account Health Check
- Will Your Retirement Savings Meet Your Needs?
- Is Your Retirement Portfolio's Asset Allocation on Track?
- Sizing Up the Performance of Your IRA/401(k)
- X-Ray Your Retirement Accounts--and Interpret the Results
Thurs. Feb 17 | Managing Your IRA in Retirement
- Where Do IRAs Fit in Your Retirement Distribution Plan?
- Taking RMDs? Keep These Tips in Mind
- Tips for Asset Location and Allocation in Retirement Accounts (Video)
- Dos and Don'ts for Leaving IRA Assets to Your Loved Ones
- Know the Rules on Inherited IRAs
- More Must-Knows About Inherited IRAs
Fri. Feb. 18 | IRA Picks