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You can't contribute to a conventional, tax-deductible IRA at all if you or your spouse contribute to a 401(k).

Unless the rules have changed without my noticing (a possibility), one can make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA, subject to a cap on the AGI. Relatively few people (a) have sufficiently low income to qualify and (b) max out their 401k contribtion and (c) have cash left over to put into an IRA, but it is possible within the tax code.

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