I have been investing for about 16 months now, and I have been happy to use ShareBuilder. I have both IRA and individual accounts, and I am 37 years old.I am a little confused about a few things, even though I enjoy choosing individual stocks and using ShareBuilder. The more I learn about investing, the more I become uncomfortable with some things, and here are a few questions:A) First, I know that choosing individual stocks is risky, fun as it is, and that statistically speaking, it¡¦s a loser¡¦s game if you want to beat the market. For some reason I can¡¦t stop myself trying to prove that I¡¦m smarter than the market, and I also like supporting certain companies based on my worldview. Still, in the post-Enron world, what sane person would not question buying individual stocks? So I ask myself, should I just go get an IRA at Vanguard (index fund ¡V probably VFINX) and forget this individual stock stuff? In that case, what happens to my individual stocks? Can I have two IRA accounts, one active (index) one inactive (individual stocks)? I¡¦d hate to have to sell my individual stocks to get into the index IRA. I am very emotionally attached to them, and you will have to pry the shares from my cold dead fingers!B) I wonder about buying exchange-traded funds inside my IRA. Is that a good idea for a long-term account? Or would they be better suited for my individual (taxed) account? I have been thinking that adding some ETFs to my IRA, mixed in with individual stocks, would be a good way to get the diversification I would have had by getting an index fund. Please comment on good ETFs to add to an IRA account through ShareBuilder. I am considering SPY, VTI, QQQ, EWT, IJH, IJR, IWN, and DIA.C) Finally, I am unsure of what kinds of stocks to add to my IRA account and individual account. So far I am going for big companies. I had thought adding blue chips to the IRA and tech stocks to the individual account was the way to go, but I have been changing that and have now mostly bought the same stocks in each. Here are the stocks in my IRA: GD, C, TSM, XOM, NOK, JNJ, and in my individual: JNJ, NOK, PFE. Any suggestions?D) So far you see that I have chosen 7 stocks. It¡¦s so hard to keep it from becoming an unmanageable number, but I would like to add a several more from this list: pharmaceuticals/biotechs (SGP, BMY, BGEN, and maybe MRK), technology (INTC), defense (NOC), energy (RD and maybe BP), financial (WM and maybe BAC). Then there are others I like: AOL, COST or WMT, BBI, SBUX, AMZN, DNA, DIS, and MCD. In fact, I could be happy buying each of these (15 stocks, added to 7 above, comes to 22 ¡V is that too many?). How can I choose? I often get excited about the riskier ones, such as AMZN, SBUX, but so far have held off buying them. Assuming I do not mind a pharmaceutical and biotech heavy portfolio (25 to 33% is fine with me), how would you choose from the above stocks to get an otherwise reasonably well-balanced portfolio? Oh yes, you may include ETFs from above if you think it would help.
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