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Saving for Retirement (Without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery) Updated and Revised by Gail MarksJarvis

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5. IRA Decisions: How to Start and Where to Go

Just about any American with a TV set has heard the term IRA because brokerage firms and mutual fund companies tout the savings devices in their ads. That’s not surprising. Besides the fact that IRAs (individual retirement accounts) are invaluable for individuals saving for retirement, they are about a $5 trillion business for financial services companies.

One out of every four retirement dollars is in an IRA, according to the Investment Company Industry, the mutual fund industry’s trade group. About 40 percent of U.S. households have an IRA—we’re talking about 46 million households.

Despite a familiarity with the term IRA, most Americans aren’t sure what to do with them, which may be why most households ...

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