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Greetings, eiandsteve, and welcome. You asked:

<<Are there any rules that apply to a previous year's income with regard to opening a spousal IRA? Last year I worked a part time job and made $3k, but this year, and presumably next year, I will not be working. Can my wife fund an IRA for me this year? And if, in the future, I return to work temporarily, will that IRA have to go without a yearly contribution if I exceed the income limit? >>

As long as you file a joint return that shows earned income from a job of $4K or more, than either you or your spouse or both may contribute $2K to your own IRA regardless of who earned the money. Prior year income has nothing to do with it, only the earned income in the year of the contribution.

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