I'm a fan of keeping things simple after helping my folks out...the companies you mentioned are good companies with some good no load funds from what I know of them.$3k in the Roth IRA sounds good...I'm curious who you'll be opening it with?The extra money you'd like to invest I'm in complete agreement with the rest of the pack...there is no "right" answer. How much time do you want to invest in this? Lots, middle of the road, just enough to be in the know? How long do you intend on investing the money? For what purpose?Do you have an emergency cushion with your DH that you both are comfortable with (3-6 months...sorry if you already answered this)? Will the $3000-$5000 be an annual deposit? Have you or your DH maxed a 401(k) if available? It really depends on what your goals are. I don't mean to make it seem complex and sorry if it seems that way. I put a similar post as yours and these are all the questions the Fools came back with. Pretty daunting eh? Don't sweat it since it's not that hard once you get cracking and the Fools are who sent me to Vanguard once I had gone through the calculations and determined what kind of investor I was...they will force you to do some homework I must admit.I keep pretty much all my accounts at Vanguard. They have a clean website where I can consolidate and do what I need to. They have plenty of funds for me to get the diversity I need for the growth I'm looking for. (and most importantly for the right price!)If you like investing a little more time an ETF (e.g. SPY) through Scottrade will be tough to beat I think.I noticed you were also looking for an insurance quote and retirement tool...here are a few you may want to check out...Insurance:www.term4sale.com (term insurance only)www.quickquote.comwww.instantquote.comwww.accuquote.comwww.insuremarket.comwww.selectquote.com (term only)Retirement calculators:www.financeware.com (you'll need to register to use the tool based on Monte Carlo. See the site for details)www.zunna.com (if you have trouble finding the tool try http://dev211.edthosting.com/)These retirement calculators will give you a little more detail based on historical trends instead of an average return. btw, if you have Quicken or Microsoft Money I believe they come with one.Best of luck to you!
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