What is an IRA? An IRA account is an Individual Retirement Account. It differs from a 401(k) plan in that the money placed in an IRA is not taxed, or is taxed at a lower rate, so you hang on to more of your saved income. By investing the money (there are several investment options that will be discussed), you can actually add to it, all the while still not paying taxes on your savings. You could even double your money with the right financial decisions. An IRA account essentially gives you more financial freedom while it allows you to earn more money.