I asked this on another forum but nobody answered the actual question, instead giving me advice on what to do with my money, so I'll try here. I'm 26. I have a Roth IRA I started when I was 22. I've made max contributions each year: 2007: $4000 2008: $5000 2009: $5000 2010: $2300 (so far) So the total contributions have been $16,300. As of today, 3-4 years later, the value is $16,100. So my question is simple: If I cashed this out today, would I be any worse off in 30 years than someone else who's 26 and started a Roth IRA today (all other things exactly equal)? Basically, would someone who started a Roth IRA at 26 be any worse off than someone who started one at 22 but has made zero money on it up til age 26?