We cover the fundamentals from opening an account to passing one on to your heirs. March 1, 2008 Considering traditional IRAs hold more than $3 trillion in assets (yes, trillion with a T, according to the Investment Company Institute), there's little doubt this tax-advantaged account is a favorite among retirement savers. Despite its popularity, the IRA can be quite confusing. We get lots of questions about IRAs: Who can open one? Where and how can you open one? When can you withdraw the money? What are the tax implications of owning an IRA? And the list continues. Below you will find articles and columns that address the basics and the intricate details of IRAs -- basically everything you need to know. If you still have questions, though, ask columnist Kimberly Lankford. Open Your First IRA How to get started and where to put your money. IRA Rules for Kids If your children have earned income from a job, opening an IRA is a good way to jump start their savings. Advertisement The Taxing Side of IRAs Our team of tax experts answers your questions about taxes and IRAs. Tapping an IRA for a House First-time homebuyers can avoid the 10% early-withdrawal penalty only if they use the IRA money to pay qualified acquisition costs. Converting an IRA to a Roth Your income will dictate whether you can convert your account. Plus, rules for deducting IRA losses. Roll 401(k) Funds Directly to an IRA Avoid penalties and taxes by making a direct transfer to your new IRA administrator rather than having the check made out to you. Advertisement Dealing with Required IRA Distributions Once you turn 70½, you have to start withdrawing from your account -- or face penalties. Transfer IRA Distributions to Charity People age 70½ and older can give up to $100,000 per year from their IRA directly to a charity and avoid paying income taxes on the money. Stretch Your IRA to Last Generations If you want your IRA tax shelter to last an extra generation or two, your heirs need to follow some very complex rules.