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<<<In your opinion, at my age is it best to use normal investing rather than 401(k) or IRA's? I realize that 401(k)'s offer FREE MONEY in most situations, but my current employer only matches the first $100 (small company). The problem with an IRA is that if I withdraw for any reason other than a home purchase I will be penalized, which will hurt the overall investment.>>>

Rule of thumb, do 401(k) to max of company match. $100 sounds small but with a $100 match you've doubled your money. The principle ($2000) put into a Roth each year can be withdrawn without penalty, something to keep in mind if needed for emergency or downpayment, etc.

As always, first get rid of debt then build up a little emergency fund.


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