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Greetings Fools,

I am a 25 year old that graduated from college in 2000. My first couple of jobs were short, right out of school and I moved from place to place. I am in the Technology field, and times were/are volatile. At last I found a nice stable job with the government that pays a decent salary in these uncertain times in the tech sector.

Here is my situation and I hope I can get some foolish insights.

- I am 25 years old
- I make 52k a year
- I am married
- My wife is a nurse
- We just bought a house

I just started my job in September 2002 and am about to enroll in the 401k plan which is being transferred to CitiBank(CitiStreet) as we speak, it was previously run by a smaller agency, but now CitiStreet is taking over.

I have decided I will take part in the plan. Most of my coworkers are older, actually I am the youngest one here, and most of them have their entire 401k in a 84 Month Guaranteed Certificate Fixed investment option that returns a fixed yield...

Should I be more aggressive since I have years on my side or should I play it safe? The other options we have are:

American Funds EuroPacific Growth
Fidelity Diversified Int'l Fund
Brazos MicroCap Growth Fund
Franklin Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund
Strong Opportunity Inv Fund
American Century Ultra Investors
JP Morgan Growth & Income A
Vanguard Instl Index Inst Plus Fund
Oppenheimer Capital Income A Fund
PIMCO Total Return Instl Fund (Pimco actually had a postive return in 2002 compared to negative for all others...9.49% and 9.33% since inception)

Also...after *all* my expenses I have about $400 left over every month....

Also fools, I forgot to mention, since I work for the government, $130.00 pre-tax per paycheck is deducted into a Government Retirement account which I never see so I have never missed that money. (Theoretically If I work here for 28 more years, at my current salary, I will get a check for $2000 odd dollars every month for the rest of my natural life, I hope my salary goes up, however..)

My question is..can I start an individual Roth IRA being that I am married and my wife is still hesitant about the stock market, or do I not qualify because I am married? My wife makes 56k a year, but does not participate in a 401k and does not have an IRA. (I will convince her to become a fool later, and start one of the two, after I get my feet wet and know what I am doing)

Actually..*SHOULD* I start a Roth IRA or should I just get a regular investment account......Sort of confused and dont know if I could have a 401k AND a Roth..individually, even if I am married...

Advice for a Fool please.

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope...

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