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What is an IRA?

An Individual Retirement Arrangement is a retirement plan that provides tax advantages for savings. The most common types are traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. They can be opened by individuals, and can give you a competitive tool with flexibility when you want it. You also can make the decision to convert a traditional IRA into a new Roth IRA. But, each has restrictions based on your situation, and IRA planning can sometimes be difficult.

  • Traditional IRAs
    A traditional IRA is a tax-deferred retirement savings account. You pay income taxes on your money only when you make withdrawals in retirement. All of your dividends, interest payments and capital gains can grow each year without being taxed upon.

  • Roth IRAs
    A Roth IRA is a retirement savings account that allows your money to grow tax-free. Fund a Roth IRA account with after-tax dollars, i.e. money you have already paid taxes on, and in return, when you withdraw in retirement, you pay no income taxes.
  • Fewer than 4 in 10 retirees have some sort of plan that mitigated the risk if their money should run out during retirement. 1

  • Research has found that three times as many pre-retirees who didn't work with a professional advisor felt unprepared for retirement as compared to those who didn't. 2

1 Five Questions Retirees Should Ask Their Advisors. April 2010.

2 Pre-Retirees Who Work With A Financial Advisor Are More Confident in Their Future. May 2011.