Savings banks and IRAs

My savings bank, along with others in my state, will not let customers make new deposits every year to their existing individual retirement accounts (IRA). Customers have to open a new one every year. If they do this, how can they compound interest so that it adds up to the levels claimed in their ads?

- V. M.

Your savings bank is probably using 30-month certificates of deposit for your IRA. These are fixed-term certificates and money cannot be added to them, so you would have to buy a new CD - thus opening a new account - whenever you wanted to add to the IRA nest egg. Some banks, however, have variable-rate IRA accounts tied to shorter-term certificates. When a CD expires, the bank simply ''rolls'' your money into a new one. You can add to these accounts anytime you like. Ask your banker whether he offers this type of IRA account. If not, you may want to look for another bank.

This is a good time to note that even though 1983 is here, it is not too late to open an IRA for 1982. A 1982 IRA can be opened as late as April 15, or whenever you file your 1982 income tax return.

If you would like a question considered for publication in this column, please send it to Moneywise, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115. No personal replies can be given by mail or phone. References to investments are not an endorsement or recommendation by this newspaper.

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