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By placing the dollar sign after your numbers, you make me think you could be an immigrant. Can we presume you are a US citizen with no plans to return to another country?

First question is what is your investment objective? Saving for retirement? To purchase a home? Educate children? etc etc.

Assuming your goal is saving for retirement, most would suggest that you fund a Roth IRA each year to the maximum allowed. If you fall below income limits, Roth lets you accumulate funds after tax, but they grow tax free and are not taxed when distributions are taken according to the rules in retirement usually after age 59-1/2. The Roth may be at any custodian you choose. Most would choose a mutual fund company (if you plan to invest in their mutual funds) or a discount broker (for stocks or a mix of stocks and mutual funds).

Roth 401k's are available some employers. They can be excellent. Most would invest in your 401k at least to get the match. That is free extra income. Investing to the pretax limit is a good idea for most. Your funds grow tax free, but are taxable at ordinary income tax rates in retirement. They can also be rolled over to an IRA after you leave the employer or converted to a Roth IRA. Much depends on the fees charged and the investments offered. Low cost 401k's are often offered by large employers, but smaller employer plans can be expensive.

A major advantage of the 401k is convenience. It is funded painlessly by payroll deductions. And it is easy to designate that your funds be invested in one or more funds, usually mutual funds. This lets you accumulate shares steadily. The result is dollar cost averaging, which gives a low average cost, especially when you buy through a market dip.

To answer your questions, first you should do a Roth conversion on your IRA (if you qualify), then fund your 401k. These investments work best for retirement saving. If you are saving for other purposes, then a cash account can work well. You probably want an emergency fund to cover the unexpected. How large is needed is often debated on this board. I have used a combination of credit cards and bond funds with check writing privileges. But this depends on the nature of your situation and the size and frequency of likely emergencies.

As to where to invest, most would begin with mutual funds at least while you learn about stock market investing. An S&P 500 Index fund or total market fund is usually the way to begin. Once you get over $10K, adding a few stocks can be a good way to learn. However, a CAPs portfolio is also good practice. If you can successfully win at picking stocks, converting your strategy to cash investments is easy. If you don't win at picking stocks, you know you are better off to rely on the pros usually by owning mutual funds.

The $2K per month contribution works best for mutual funds. You can even arrange to have a given amount automatically deducted from your bank account each month and sent to the mutual fund. Or you can simply close your books each month and send surplus funds to your investment account.

The $2K per month is probably large enough to make monthly purchases of stocks at a discount broker, but that could be more trades than you prefer. So accumulating funds in a money market fund at a brokerage house and then occasional investments when opportunities arise could work for you.

As to how to accumulate a portfolio, make a beginning and learn as you go. You will soon learn what works for you and become aware of other opportunities.

This is getting a bit long. Feel free to ask if any of this requires more explaining.

Best of luck to you. Good investing!!
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