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Roth IRAs

Set Up a Roth IRA

Make sure you're eligible. In 2008 you can contribute up to $5,000 to a Roth IRA (or up to $6,000 if you are 50 or older) as long as your income doesn't exceed $116,000 if you are single or $169,000 if you are married filing jointly.

Search online for "Roth IRA providers" to compare minimum investment requirements and maintenance fees, if any. Brokers and mutual fund companies often require minimum contributions of $1,000 or more, but will sometimes waive that if you commit to a monthly direct deposit. And you can open a Roth at Charles Schwab with as little as $100.

Download the application, fill it out and mail it in, along with your deposit check or authorization for an electronic funds transfer. Some companies let you complete the application online.

Invest in a target-date retirement fund for a simple way to maintain diversification and risk levels.

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As an alternative, open a Roth IRA at your local bank. Once you have accumulated enough to satisfy the minimum investment requirement of a mutual fund company or brokerage firm, you can transfer the money.

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