I think I've been using IRAs all wrong.
I read a while back about putting money into an IRA, so I opened up a Roth IRA and have been maxing out my contribution. I saw that there were opportunities to invest, but I was so new to the game that I decided to ignore those opportunities for the time being and just make sure that I have money going into the account.
A year later, I decided to think about what I was actually doing, and I came to the conclusion that putting money into an IRA without investing is useless, because the money in there is just cash that's losing value due to inflation.
So do you only benefit from an IRA if you invest the money? I've searched and searched, but haven't found sources explicitly saying you need to invest the money. With my 401k, I had no choice, but with the IRA, I do.
If the whole benefit comes from investing, why is there even an option to not invest? (assuming that that's indeed the benefit)
Should I generally be investing all of the money that I contribute (like I do with my 401k)? I have since put some of it into a lifecycle fund that's appropriate for my age, but I guess I would need to set it up, so that it auto-invests my contributions each month.