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No. 1: Live only for today
IRAs, or individual retirement accounts, may be trickier than you think. And what you don't know can cost you money.
Many of the most common IRA mistakes occur simply because people don't know the rules, of which there are many, governing these accounts. Complex rules provide many opportunities for things to go awry, but the biggest mistake with IRAs may be not contributing to one at all.
"If you don't put anything in, you won't have anything at the end," says IRA expert Ed Slott, president of Ed Slott and Co., and author of "The Retirement Savings Time Bomb ... and How to Defuse It."
Each year that you're eligible to make IRA contributions and don't is a chunk of retirement income lost. The most significant factor in the amount of money accumulated at retirement is the amount you save, not the rate of return on investments.
In general, "If you run the numbers, someone who doesn't skip contribution years, versus someone who does, the person who doesn't skip years will end up with more money in retirement," says Ken Hevert, senior vice president of retirement, retirement income and college products at Fidelity Investments.