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Individual Retirement Accounts or IRAs allow you to invest a portion of your yearly earnings, tax-deferred.  This means that you don't have to pay taxes on the money earned in the account until you withdraw it.  (In addition, you may be able to deduct all or part of the money you invest from your yearly income taxes).  As of 2008 the maximum contribution you can make to an IRA in any given year is $5,000 (or $6,000 if you're over 50).

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