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As originally conceived and rolled out, IRA's were ONLY available to workers whose EMPLOYER went to the task of setting up the machinery in their company to allow employees to contribute to IRA's...

Long about 1984, 85, 86, Congress decided that it would be more fair to let "all us other working-folks" to have access to such a great plan... [I remember the articles following the event... the CBO had forecast that "oh, about $9 billion, give or take, would be invested in the first year by the newly allowed workers"...

THE FIRST YEAR PARTICIPATION EXCEEDED $27 BILLION... they were only off by 300% in their forecast... government insight, foresight, gotta love'em... but I digress...

If you commenced your IRA contributions back when they had to go thru your employer, and the company[s] is still around, you might start with asking some questions there...

For the after scenario, I don't know that I'd just say "Oh, well... sigh"... if you maxed out the allowed you had ~~$2000 per year going into the account, and hopefully that's compounded into added value... in a nutshell, that ain't chicken feed, and could very likely be worth your effort...

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