bentony: "The reason I referred to small cap, large cap,fixed, is that just about every "advice" or analysis for amateur investors tells us to diversify the portfolio, based on timeframe and risk tolerance."Yes."Even in an IRA, that diversification should matter, shouldn't it?"Probably, but many people suggest viewing you IRA, Roth IRA and taxable investment accounts as one portfolio and not three different portfolios. It is difficult to infer from your post whether you are viewing the IRA as its own portfolio independent of any Roth IRA or taxable investments."So,what I'm really asking is this: shouldn't I be looking for an investment that will be worth a lot more when I take it out than when I put it in?"Yes."If there is an additional tax advantage(in addition to it's IRA status),that's just icing on the cake. Correct?"Not necessarily. Any additional tax advantage usually comes at a cost; if you can invest in the underlying investment without the wrapper that provides the additional tax advantage, one can usually do better by investing the IRA funds directly. In addition, if you find tax free bonds paying substantially more than taxable bonds, then the default risk is also probably susbtantially higher (and it is not clear from your posts how you are analyzing/measuring your different investment choices).If there is an additional tax advantage, why not invest with your after tax/taxable dollar investments and use the IRA for soemthing that would generate taxable income if held in your taxable account?Regards, JAFO
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