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Hello I just joined the Motley Fool- I'm 27 and in the Army and I just opened an IRA with Vanguard in March '05, but just rolled it over to a Sharebuilder account so that I can buy individual stocks. I was previously in the Vanguard 2045 Target retirement, and figured (at the least) I could get an S&P 500 Index fund or ETF, and one or two company's stock and surely beat that fund over the long haul. Is this a fair assesment?

What types of stocks should I be buying for the long haul? Should I even include an S&P index, or just stick with a couple dividend paying large caps and maybe one or two small caps? I was looking at Microsoft, Starbucks, Coke, and 3M for large caps, and Sirius and K2 as potential small caps. Can I beat the SP 500 with a buy and hold strategy of say four or five stocks? Or am I better off with index funds?

Please help as I am new, but eager.

Jake Commando
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