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GPSpilot writes, in part:

I got married late in 1999. I have had a traditional IRA for several years but my wife has none. I know we can collectively now contribute $4000 per year as opposed to my
$2000 in the past, but how exactly do we do this?

A) Just send $4000 to my existing account this time, no changes required.

B) I'm required to add my wife's name to the account before I can contribute $4000, or

C) We must open a second account in her name, and send $2000 to each account.


To which I reply:

Your "sneaking suspicion" is correct. That's why they are called INDIVIDUAL retirement accounts. You cannot co-mingle the funds. She must open her own account, in her name - and, while not required, you are usually best off when sending in your contributions, to make out two seperate checks for $2K each. Sometimes some brokers have trouble breaking up a single check to two different IRA accounts.

Hope that helps,

Tim
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