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"However, in my mind, that IRA is MY money, and every withdrawal decreases the balance, so it's hard for me to think of it as "income.""

Problem is, you didn't pay taxes on what you put into it..... so now, you not only get to pay taxes on what you put in, but also on all the gains.

You are likely way ahead of the game.

In Obama speak, no...they only 'let' you put that money into the IRA/401 account. They were nice enough to let you do that. It was really their money, but they 'allowed' you to save. Now you have to 'share' your profits with them. And, of course, pay the taxes on the original amount.

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