More than 40% of U.S. households, or 40 million households, owned at least one IRA in 2004, off just slightly from the 41.4% of 2003, an annual ownership study from the Investment Company Institute reveals. That number, however, is somewhat higher versus the 39.5% of 2002 and the 39.7% of 2000 and 2001.

A second, retrospective study from the institute analyzed IRAs since their inception 30 years ago and found that the investment vehicles have gained $3 trillion in assets to become the No. 1 player in the $11.6 trillion retirement market.

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