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Just what I need to learn about! I assumed that if I work, I would get Social Security, pension, whatever, to deal with retirement. HA! Too many years later, I'm already 45, and have pretty much gone month to month as a single parent of 2 teenagers, and little to show. I told them a decade ago to pull all of $25 a month out of my paycheck into a 403b, and then I have a teacher's STRS. No matching funds in the 403b, and the STRS is pre-set, but that doesn't add up to much, since I teach 70% plus summers and before-after school progams.

Dear brother tried to set all of us siblings with a Roth a couple of years ago at Schwab. On his recommendation, and minimal reading, I chose Kevin Landis of Firsthand Technology Value Fund, probably bought it at the top, before the 70% drop! That, on top of the $40 a year IRA fee, I ended up writing a check for about $127 to Schwab to move what had dwindled to under $400 to my Roth in Ameritrade (on top of which Schwab added a $95 transfer fee.)

I'd get papers and pretty much file them, and am just now reading that my 403b, I had chosen (out of pure ignorance and taking the guy's advice who came to our school) an American Fidelity group annuity. It only earns maybe 4-5%.

I hope my ignorance is too glaring, but after reading all of this, it sounds like I can roll this 403b into a traditional IRA (can I have both a traditional IRA and a ROTH at the same time?) and I put it into a Vanguard Index Fund. And it sounds like I can do this through Vanguard. I'd like to open an account directly with them, and have them continue to take a bit out of my paycheck/bank account, since I'll be done with paying both my student loan and my daughter's braces this May. Can I do this?

One blessing, is that my little cottage has an equity of about 300K, and I've been reading with interest the buy/rent thread! There's a very nice mobile park retirement neighborhood about a mile from my house. Minimal upkeep (compared to a house and yard), unattached walls, and an established, active, retirement community. Beginning to look really good to me!

Thanks for any insights on this, these boards are super! It's like having a roomful of investing friends to work things out with!


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