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I was refering to the limit on contribution amounts for the year. Isn't there a cap of $3,000 this year and $4,000 next year?

If he's over 50, the caps are a wee bit higher--$3500 for 2004 and $4500 for 2005. Also, it's not too late to contribute for tax year 2003! A 2003 contribution might not be deductible if he was covered by a plan at work, in which case you might consider contributing to a Roth IRA instead (if he meets the Roth income requirements).

Or is that just the amount that can qualify as tax-deductible?

I believe it's only deductible if he wasn't covered by a plan at work. And the maximums are the maximums, regardless of whether it's a tax-deductible contribution or not.

If that is the cap, and we wanted to put more away for retirement, then we need to start a regular investment account, right? I guess I was hoping for a one account scenario, but it looks like that won't work.

If he has to make-up time via larger savings/contributions, then you'll probably have to have a taxable account also. If you do, use the taxable account for a low turnover, long-term hold index fund, like Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index. Use the IRA for a REIT, or other investment that throws off non-qualifying distributions.


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