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Greetings, EliW, and welcome.

<<Elsewhere on the boards, I saw that someone had put their money with an on-line trader and was using it to follow the UG5 scheme, or one of the others. Yet they had designated this "fund" as an IRA!

Can you *do* that? I thought IRAs were strictly mutual funds and 401Ks and things where you have to let someone else decide what your money buys!

To be fair, I'm not about to rush out and do that with ALL my money I'm investing...I might need some of it during the next 30 years. :-) Nonetheless, it sounds useful...

Can you even make such an account a Roth IRA?>>

An IRA, a 401k, a 403b, a 457 plan, etc., are means of investing. They are not the investment themselves. Think of them as shopping bags in which you put the things you're buying (the investment). They hold those things until you're ready to use them. All permit certain tax advantages as long as the purchased goods (the investments) remain inside the shopping bag. Take them out of the bag, and they get used (i.e., taxed and spent). Typically, the retirement plans (401k, 403b, 457) have several options from which investments may be chosen, and these are usually mutual funds. An IRA is not as restrictive, and the chosen investment may be virtually anything found in the investment world from mutual funds to individually chosen stocks and bonds. Individual securities purchases are made within something known as a self-directed IRA, and every broker can set up one of these accounts for you. And yes, you can have the same thing within a Roth IRA.


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