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a friend of mine and I were wondering what the advantages were of an IRA over a Mutual Fund, and vice versa. or are we comparing apples to oranges completely.

Dear Dan,
An IRA is the basket into which you can put the Mutual Fund apples and oranges. The fruits of your labors can also include individual stocks which you select yourself, not only Mutual Funds, which are run by a company. I will leave more details to the pros here.
Meowiz
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