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This has probably been covered on this board before, but with 22,000+ posts...well, you get the idea. I apologize for any redundancy. It hasn't been covered in the last week at any rate.

I've just heard something that sounds incredulous to me, and I want to verify that it's correct. It seems that a person of moderate income who has a retirement plan at work (i.e. 401k) can contribute up to roughly $10,000 per year to their work retirement plan and still also contribute $2,000 to a Roth IRA.

On the other hand, someone who does not have a retirement plan at work (read: someone who really needs their IRAs), if they fully fund a $2000 traditional IRA, they cannot contribute anything to a Roth, and vice-versa. They are limited to $2000 total in their IRA contributions.

Is it just me, or does this not make any sense? For example, I have a friend who was a nun all her adult life and recently left the convent at age 42. She has no savings (talk about someone who needs to start building retirement savings!). She is a teacher, and her school has a 1-year waiting period for 403b participation. So this first year, this person can only contribute $2000 total among her retirement accounts? While those who are in better financial positions can contribute much more? What's up with that?

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