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Greetings, Fool4CRM, and welcome. You wrote:

<<Do the fees you owe your broker for trades have to come out of the funds in your Roth? I can put $2000 each year into my Roth to invest. When I buy stocks, I owe commissions to my discount broker. Can I not pay those fees from cash in another non-IRA account? Otherwise, I'm not really getting to investing the full $2000; I'm investing $2000 – commissions.>>

Yes, the commissions must come from your annual $2K limit OR from money already in the account. If you pay the commissions from outside money, then the amount you pay will be counted as a contribution to your IRA. If you have already contributed your annual limit of $2K, then the payment will constitute an over-contribution, and that leads to whole new set of problems with the IRS you don't want to incur. Therefore, resign yourself to the fact that your commissions on trades will come from money in the IRA or from your annual contribution.

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