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jrr7 - If I've got $4000 to invest right now, would you recommend starting one Roth with $4000 in it or two Roth IRAs (one for me and one for my wife) with $2000 in each? Does it matter?

From a financial point of view, generally your choices are wider and your fees are lower the more you invest.

From a relationship point of view, your DW may not be happy that all the retirement money is in your name and none is in hers. Talk to her first.

If you're only going to be putting $2000 in, I'd recommend something like a money market, or a 1-year CD (with the best rate you can find -- check out the Online Banking board), and then transfer the money elsewhere when you can add more.

Also, if I open a Roth IRA can I make my initial deposit be for 2005 and have my monthly contributions go towards 2006?

Sure -- just make sure you know the proper procedure for communicating this to your custodian. (Some may just require a note in the memo field of your check; some may want you to use a special deposit slip, etc.)
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