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Go Open A Roth IRA Right Now!!!

Do you have a Roth IRA? If so, excellent job, you’ve already done one of the best things you could probably do to ensure you have a financially viable retirement. If not, why not? If your excuse isn’t, I make more than $110,000 and thus am not allowed to contribute, then your excuse is not good enough.

Don’t have enough time? It takes literally fifteen minutes. Do it while you’re watching American Idol or CSI: Saturn. Fifteen minutes. You spend more time getting dressed in the morning. Go to Vanguard [3], or Fidelity [4], or TD Ameritrade [5], or Etrade [6] or your favorite brokerage firm. (I even linked to the Open Account page to save you a few seconds)

Don’t have enough money? Did you know that if you contributed $4,000 (max for 2006 and 2007) right now and it appreciated at a mere 7% for the next twenty years, you would have $15,478.74? While that doesn’t sound like a lot of money, 7% is a relatively conservative number for your investments. If you were to instead use 11%, you’d have $32,249.25. If you were to stretch the time out thirty years at 11%, you’re talking $91,569.19 – all from a single $4,000 contribution right now.

Now, ignoring all those crazy appreciation numbers, remember that you don’t have to contribute all $4,000. You can contribute $1,000 or $100, but you need to contribute something. (I’d argue that you want to contribute as much as you can to avoid low balance fees but $1,000 is better than $0)

Afraid you’ll need the money? Since your Roth contributions are after-tax contributions, you can withdraw those contributions whenever you want. Dire emergency and you have no choice but to raid the Roth? You can still do it. You can still change your mind.

Opening a Roth IRA is ridiculously easy and it’s not something to be afraid of. Don’t be afraid you don’t have enough money and instead challenge yourself to find a way to save a hundred bucks a month and at the end of the year you’ll have $1,200 saved away (worth $27,470.76 in thirty years at 11%) that you didn’t think you had. You have until April 16th to file your taxes this year so you have until April 16th to open up a Roth IRA and contribute to it for 2006. Go! Do it!