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You wrote, This isn't the ira board, but i am trying to understand them a little better. I believe regular ira's contributions are tax deductible, which would offset the fact that 401's use pretax dollars. I also would like to know if you can have and contribute to two ira's in the same year. I already have a roth, but I am thinking that if i can have both.....i could contribute six or so thousand a year to these two accounts and avoid the 401 all together. If anyone has anything else they can can add...i truely appriciate it.

Yes, a conventional IRA's contributions are effectively pre-tax because of the tax deduction. But that's not true of a Roth IRA.

Yes, you may be able to avoid the 401(k) altogether. Just remember that there are rules that can affect the tax-deferred status of your conventional IRA contributions. Essentially, if you or your spouse are eligible for any kind of employer-funded retirement benefit, your IRA cannot be deducted from your taxes.

For instance, any kind of defined-benefit (pension) plan makes your conventional IRA contribution taxable. Also, if your employer contributes just one dollar to your 401(k); or any other approved, tax-advantaged retirement plan, your conventional IRA contributions become taxable. However, so long as your employer makes no contributions to your 401(k) and provides no other retirement plan benefits, you can probably deduct a conventional IRA contribution from your taxes.

A lot of if's, I know. But that's our tax system for you.

- Joel
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