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I understand that it is advisable to hold an IRA or similar investment that will provide tax benefits. I will soon begin investing and I don't really know if an IRA would be necessary for me. I am active duty military and have an annual income of less than $24000. With a wife and three kids, taxes are really not a great concern at this point. State taxes are also not a concern.

My question is basically this: should I start investing in an IRA, or just have a straight portfolio without the tax advantages, but also without penalties for early withdrawal?

Thanks for any insight,
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