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Author: mathetes Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Motley Fool One Everlasting Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 260  
Subject: Re: SI Pro's Value? Date: 12/28/2005 5:52 PM
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jimbo1969: I was wondering if there are other more "do-it-yourself" 401K plans that I should check out that allow me to invest in individual stocks inside a tax-sheltered 401K account.

Probably aren't any 401(k) plans where you can direct the investments as you wish... but the equivalent is available if you can roll some or all of your 401(k) money over into an IRA. That's often possible, but is not likely to be highlighted in your company's literature. They don't want people to abuse the privilege ... and for good reason: it's possible that you could shoot yourself in the foot.

Nevertheless, it is worth asking your 401(k) plan administrators whether or not the terms of your particular plan do allow you to withdraw some of the funds that have accumulated, specifically through a rollover to another "qualified plan" -- i.e., an IRA at some firm such as E-Trade. I have done this (when I did it, I rolled it over into an American Express account, where there was the equivalent (in fact, the forerunner) of the Ameriprise advisor you allude to. After a couple years, though, I "fired" that advisor and moved the funds (paying a penalty) to E-Trade. Frankly, I'd be skeptical of the value of moving the funds to Ameriprise. Their own investment advice, their own funds, tend to be rather poor performers ...

The next question, and a very important one, is whether you are able to spend the time to manage the investments on your own. I happened to be lucky in the timing of when I did mine .... riding the crest of the internet bubble in the late 1990s ... so I got some really good returns. Since then, though (and since retirement), I've tended increasingly to go to mutual funds and ETFs and away from the individual stocks. I still remain skeptical of most Ameriprise type approaches...

mathetes

P.S. Your question really should be asked on another board dealing more broadly with IRAs and 401(k) plans ... you're more likely to be seen by folks with more experience specifically relevant.
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