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Subject:  Re: Mechanics of Investing in IRAs Date:  5/24/2001  10:56 AM
Author:  TMFKGOMalley Number:  29884 of 88785

I have been reading and learning about investing now for a year, and I think I have a good handle on the basic philosophy of investing for retirement, goals & such (though I'm only 24, and I do still have a lot to learn). Mostly at this point, I am stumped by some of the mechanics of investing.

I've set up a regular brokerage account as well as a Roth IRA at etrade. In my Roth IRA, I put in my $2,000 for Y2K contribution, and so far this year, I've put in about $385. I have already bought some mutual fund shares with the initial $2,000, so I essentially have the $385 to do something with. I also have $1600 that I am thinking about putting into this IRA for this year, but I'm confused about how I can use the IRA. I have a specific index fund that I want to buy, but it's not offered through etrade. Does this mean I have to open another IRA somewhere else, maybe directly through the mutual fund company? My concern is that I don't want to have to keep track of a million different accounts....but if I do open a new IRA, can i take the uninvested $385 that I have at etrade and put it into this new account?

Also, I foolishly (not Foolishly) opened an Ameritrade account and bought a few shares of Cisco...I have about $400 in there now, and in the interest of consolidating my finances, I'd like to close that account and put the shares into my etrade that possible, or do I have to sell the shares and take the loss?

I guess I'm a little confused about what I own and control and what the brokers control...Any help and/or advice would be greatly appreciated!!!


Welcome to the Motley Fool.

Personally I think that it is a good idea to consolidate to one or two brokers.

You should be able to transfer from one IRA to another IRA at another broker. On the other hand that won't help in your consolidation. If you like Etrade, isn't there another similar fund that will work? Have you considered an Index Fund? Does ETrade have a find that covers the S&P 500?

If you do transfer the money to another IRA be careful you need to do a direct transfer to make sure there are no tax implications. The new broker would be happy to help you (although I'd recommend finding a way to keep the money where it is now). There may be fees involved with the transfer.

You may want to invest the time to read these two series:
All About IRAs
A Grand, Comprehensive Overview to Mutual Fund Investing

You should also be able to transfer the CISCO stock. Email ETrade and Ameritrade to find out what their procedure is. Again, there may be fees involved with the transfer.

The Fool offers a Self-Paced Beginners Investing Online Seminar
This online seminar will teach you safe, simple ways to put your money to work for you. You can start this seminar any time, and work at your own pace.

It's great that you are starting investing early. I assume you've paid off all of your high interest debt first (esp. credit cards). The piece of advice I'd like to leave you with is to keep it simple for the first couple of years. It is very easy to get caught up in a lot of ideas and lose all your gains because of commissions and other fees.

Fool On,

Keith O'Malley
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