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monkminder -

I did exactly what you are talking about last year. I put $4000 in a new Roth IRA with one check, and stated on the deposit slip that $2000 was for 1998 and $2000 was for 1999. If you don't have the official form to open the account, call the brokerage house and ask them how they want you to do it. No problem!

As for the 'buy' issue, I think you are asking if you have to designate which year any stocks you buy go into. You do not have to designate anything except deposits after you open the account. Any transactions you make, regardless of cost, are dated by the date that the transaction is confirmed. Buying and selling is not 'year' related. Example: As soon as I opened the account, I bought $4000 of a mutual fund. Didn't matter that the money was 'deposited' in two different years.

Last issue: You can put $4000 in an account once, when you open it, to cover this year and next. Assuming you deposit every year, you can only deposit $2000 per year. The amount of stock/funds you buy is not related to how much you deposit (of course, you can't buy more than you have in the account!). The only way you can add more than $2000/year is to roll over a regular IRA into your Roth and that will cost in taxes. You need to discuss that with an investment advisor or accountant.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask me for clarification if I haven't answered you questions.

Good luck!

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