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Greetings, Reitman, and welcome.

<<I am currently a school counselor. I am 50 years old. I intend to retire when I turn 58. Due to various circumstances, I have not been able to invest into any type of retirement with the exception of my teacher pension. Now, I finally have the capital to make some good investments. Teachers are offered a TSA through our school district. The maximum allowable to submit to a TSA is approximately $9500 per year. I thought this would be the year I would start a TSA, but I happened to buy the Motely Fool Book two days ago, and I feel that doing the DOW for the next 8 plus years would give me a greater return. What are your thought abouts TSA's? I also plan on working after retiring from education. Any information concerning TSA's matter would be helpful. I am not afraid to jump into the market. In fact, I look forward to it.>>

You asked for an opinion, so I'll give one. Annuities are one of the poorest returning investments available. They are for the ultra-conservative who wish to take absolutely no risk with their money and are content with lining the pockets of the insurance companies who sell them. (Gee, I bet you really want to know how I feel about annuity products, right? :-) )

Given a choice between investing in the stock market with $9,500 per year (and it's $10,000 this year) on an after tax basis or in a TSA on a pre-tax basis, I would pick the market every time. And I would win over time. But you're talking about "the next eight years." The odds of winning just came down to about 85% of the time. Me? I'd still go for the market. That's because I weighed the risk, can live with it, and can sleep at night. You are you, and that's a choice only you can make.

You've waited until age 50 to start saving for retirement. Even at $10K per year for the next 12 years, the TSA ain't gonna give you much, but it will result in some kind of payment each year. The market can certainly give you more. But you could lose it all, too. Are you willing to risk that? Again, only you can answer.


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