First question is do you have the entire $10,000 right now and do not expect any more for the next three years or will you have an average of $3300 per year for the next three years?Depending if your income situation allows you to take the tax credit for a Roth deduction (my wife and I took a $400 credit on 2003 taxes), that coupled with the fact that the Roth grows tax free and you get no "free money" from the 401k for the next two years leads me to recommend this:2004$3000 in the Roth$7000 in a separate trading account2005$3000 in the Roth$4000 in the separate account2006$3000 in the Rothremainder in 401k or trading accountThis depends on what company you work for and what their 401k plan is. If you come out better in taxes and return on investment from contributing to the 401k even without the matching funds, do the 401k. If your company has a paltry return on its 401k investment options, you might be able to do better managing your initial $7000 yourself even with the tax savings.I don't get matching funds for my 401k and my tax savings is less than the returns I get from managing the money myself.Regardless, max the Roth every year.DF
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