7 ways to get the most out of your individual retirement account

You’ve seen it on TV and the Internet: various pitches by financial services firms in which they attempt to persuade you to open an individual retirement account, or IRA, with them. While choosing the best custodian is important, determining how an IRA fits into your retirement planning needs is equally so.

IRAs often take a back seat to workplace retirement plans like the 401(k). In reality, an IRA provides everybody with the opportunity to save for their golden years no matter what their circumstances — as long as they have earned income — though there’s an exception for spouses. It’s important to know how to maximize this opportunity.

As with all financial decisions, don’t fall for promotional hype when choosing your IRA custodian. You should also know the different ways an IRA can serve your future needs. Read on to learn about 7 IRA planning tips to make the most of this gift from Uncle Sam.

ADVISER SEARCH: Find a financial adviser today at Bankrate.com.