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Special Report's IRA Improvement Week

Feb. 14-18, 2011: Get Morningstar's top IRA picks, plus tips on choosing an IRA, doing conversions and rollovers, benchmarking your IRA's performance, and more.

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

Tues. Feb. 15 | Conversions and Rollovers

Wed. Feb. 16 | Retirement Account Health Check

Thurs. Feb 17 | Managing Your IRA in Retirement

Fri. Feb. 18 | IRA Picks