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cutehumor writes:

Does anyone know the difference between a roth ira and a brokerage ira? do they the same thing? When you put the $2,000 a year at a time. do they go by the calendar year or a year from when you put in. for example, I can open up a roth ira today on 12-29-99. Put the max of 2,000 in it. and put another $2,000 in 1-10-2000 because it's a new calendar year? or it has to be exactly a year?

I reply:

Except for Education IRAs, which are measured strictly on a calendar year basis, IRA contributions are measured on a "tax year" basis. In other words, you may make your 1999 contribution any time between January 1, 1999, and April 17, 2000, and you may make your 2000 contribution any time between January 1, 2000, and April 15, 2001. Thus, you may send in a pair of $2000 checks, one for 1999 and one for 2000, on January 10, 2000. Separate checks are recommended to minimize the likelihood that your IRA custodian won't realize that you intend contributions for two separate tax years. Good luck! --Bob
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