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Greetings, John, and welcome. You wrote:

I'm a newbie to the ranks of the Fools and I have a question regarding the transfer of 401-k funds from a previous employer to an IRA. I would like to take advantage of better returns by choosing from individual stocks rather than just investing in mutual funds. However I was looking to use Vanguard but the commission schedule is a little pricey. I'm also a little shy about using some of the deep discount brokers for fear of the money not being as 'safe' as with some of the better known firms. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?

You are correct in being concerned about trading expenses and their impact on your potential returns. However, there's little need to be concerned with the "safety" of discount brokers. All are regulated just like the big boys and all have insurance to cover the misappropriation of your funds. Therefore, IMHO the only thing you need concern yourself with is the "safety" of the investments you choose and the costs of making those investments.

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