The IRA has dropped a few levels on the list of financial priorities. A study by T. Rowe Price found 45 percent of investors from ages 21-50 are planning to contribute to their IRAs for the 2011 tax year. That’s down from 71 percent in 2010. The recession is much to blame, forcing Americans to choose between retirement savings or food on the table. But that does not necessarily mean Americans have stopped contributions to retirement savings entirely. Some savers have decided to go with one retirement vehicle over another, like the 401(k). The study by T. Rowe Price also found 42 percent of young investors who backed away from IRAs thought their 401(k) savings were plenty. “You can save much more in a 401(k), and the amount you can save in a Roth account isn’t enough to live off of anyways,” says Eli Lehrer, a vice president of Washington, D.C.-based think-tank Heartland Institute.

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