What is a IRA? An individual retirement account (IRA) is savings accounts for income earners. There are several forms of IRAs, which set aside financial contributions in anticipation of an individual’s retirement. What is an IRA? IRAs are exclusive benefits to the individual taxpayer, exercising IRA tax advantages today. Traditional IRAs are offered as part of an employee’s benefit from an employer’s group plan. As of 2011, individuals are allowed to contribute up to $5,000 a year as a pretax deduction if they are younger than 50 years of age and up to $6,000 if they are older than 50 years of age. Understanding the elements of each IRA type is the beginning of making the best decision towards better investments using self directed IRAs.