Common and Costly Ways You Can Screw Up With an IRA

4. Not knowing what's in your IRA

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Though an IRA is considered an "account" and the purpose is to save for your retirement, it's not like a savings account. It's more of an investment account.

Your IRA might include mutual funds, CDs, stocks, bonds and possibly some real estate investments.

Don't be completely clueless about what's in there. You want to know, for example, that the mix is right for your age. The closer to retirement you are, the less exposure you want to riskier investments, like stocks.