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My reaction is you need to think about how much interest you will be paying on your 20K of debt vs after tax dollars on investment.

Nothing wrong with putting funds into an IRA, but I see two considerations:

#1 You don't know what return you will get on those investments in the next few years - you might have negative returns if the market declines.

#2 It seem likely to me, you will have a certain interest cost, paid with after tax dollars beginning in mid 2015.

So why not minimize that post mid-2015 cost instead of funding the IRA? Once the debt is paid off, begin using whatever the monthly amount you budgeted for the debt into an IRA. Since you have not been spending the funds, you will not see any change in your standard of living.
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