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For years the rules and mis-information on who could have an IRA kept government employees out of them. At first it was only self employed workers who could have an IRA and there were complex income calculations.

In the mid 80's rules changed again and state employees were given the right to have a work related deferred account and 403 accounts. While the rules changed to allow them, it often took large employers a while to implement the changes for employees.

I didn't understand that I could qualify for a IRA until the Roth came along in 1997 when I opened my first one. Perhaps I could have qualified before but I am just an ordinary Joe.

There is an interesting history :

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