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So potentially you could contribute $5000 early 2002>

Just a minor point -- you'll prefer to write two checks under these circumstances. If you're not absolutely clear that you are sending one check for both your 2001 and 2002 contributions, or if your check happens to land on the desk of the newest data entry clerk at your IRA custodian's check processing center, you may find your check returned to you along with an instructional brochure about IRA policies. You can avoid these hassles if you write two checks -- one for your 2001 contribution and one for your 2002 contribution.

David Jacobs
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