I'm trying to understand the benefits of IRAs. I get that an IRA is an account for retirement in which I keep investments. And I get the difference between Roth and Traditional IRAs (in fact, that's the only comparison I can find when searching my topic), but what about an IRA vs. other investments which aren't in an IRA?
I suppose there are possible tax benefits... but there's also possible penalties and fees.
So why would I open an IRA instead of simply investing in the funds that would otherwise go into the IRA? (And I'm looking at long-term investments here.)