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I believe the answer to your question is that the Tax laws are written differently for Educational IRA's. For Educational IRA's you can only make a contribution for 1998 during 1998. For normal and Roth IRA's the law says you can contribute up until April 15th 1999 or when you file your tax return which ever is earlier. There is no reason to this other than that is how the laws were written.

I started an Education IRA for my son at Waterhouse. They had no problem with a $500 IRA that can trade in stocks, Mutual funds or money market funds. However, because the fee to trade is $12 for up to 5000 shares it might be better for me to keep the investment in no load index mutual funds until a few years have passed and the cost of trading is not as large a proportion of the investment.

My take on your question on where to be more aggressive is go for higher returns with the funds you can afford to wait longer to need.
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