Financial expert Suze Orman
You need to save for retirement even if you're not generating income. One of the best ways is by opening a spousal Individual Retirement Account (IRA), an investment specifically tailored to nonworking spouses.

Typically, the IRS requires you to have earned income to open an IRA, but the spousal IRA is designed to allow full-time parents to keep retirement accounts funded by their partners' incomes. Each person can set aside up to $5,000 a year in an IRA (if you're 50 or older, the maximum contribution is $6,000).

The Roth IRA is an incredible deal. If you just invest $4,000 a year for the next 20 years and earn an average of 8 percent annually, your Roth will be worth nearly $200,000. Keep it up for 30 years, and you'll have almost $500,000. You won't owe a penny in taxes because Uncle Sam already took his share from the money you invested. This is the opposite of most retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), in which your original investment isn't taxed but your withdrawals are.

Another nice feature is that your investment can be withdrawn at any time without penalty. Only the earnings on your contributions have to stay put for at least five years and until you're 59. Otherwise you'll get hit with taxes and penalties. The best move is to leave the money invested for as long as possible. But it sure is nice to know that in an emergency, you have easy access to your contributions.

Updated September 23, 2008
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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