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I'm a new Fool, and need some help figuring out how best to take advantage of my company's retirement plan. My employer offers a 2 fold retirement plan: the first part is comprised of 5% of my gross salary invested and managed by our CFO. This money comes from my employer and is not deducted from my salary. That part's easy. The second part is a 403b plan to which I am planning to contribute, and therein lies the rub. The 403b plan is managed by Merrill Lynch and I am trying to decide which mutual fund to put this pre-tax money into. I've asked the broker if they offer TMF's recommended Vanguard's Index fund, but haven't yet received an answer. If I can't get the Vanguard Fund, does anyone have some suggestions as to which fund(s) to choose?

Also, am I correct in assuming that by participating in my company's 403b plan, I must use Merrill Lynch, the plan's administrator, or may I set up a self directed plan with the same tax advantages? I suspect not, but I want to be as Foolish as possible about all of this.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
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