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The most that you can contribute to your retirement IRA in 2011 is the smaller of $5,000 or an amount equal to your compensation includible in income for the year. Also, if you are at least age 50 during the year you can make an additional $1,000 "catch-up" contribution, increasing your allowable contribution limits to $6,000 in 2011.
The same general contribution limits apply if you have more than one IRA, or more than one type of IRA. The contribution must be from "compensation," which means wages, salaries, commissions, net self-employment income, and other sources of earned income. It does not include deferred compensation, retirement payments, or portfolio income such as interest or dividends. When both a husband and wife have compensation, the limit applies separately to each, so that in 2011 as much as $10,000 can be contributed ($12,000 if they are both at least 50 years of age).
If one spouse does not work or has very little income, a married couple filing jointly may still contribute up to $5,000 for each spouse's account (or $6,000 if at least age 50), as long as the couple's joint earned income exceeds their joint IRA contributions. Separate accounts must be used for each spouse.