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You have two issues to deal with: (1) What institution should you select to manage your IRA? and (2) What investments should you choose for your IRA?

There are literally thousands of financial institutions out there who offer IRA accounts to help you manage your money. Your first decision is to select one of them. Just remember that your selection of financial institution will determine your available universe of investment options as well as their transaction costs. Generally, if you plan to self-direct your investments into stocks, look for a low-cost, online brokerage. If you plan to invest in a specific mutual fund, suggest you select that fund's manager for your IRA. If you want some esoteric high-risk investment (e.g., gold futures, REITs), then you should find an institution that offers that option. CAUTION: Investigate your options and pick your institution BEFORE you contact them. Else, you will have every financial institution you contact pestering you incessantly.

NOTE: Once you have opened your new IRA account, you can 'roll' 401Ks and IRAs from other institutions into this account.

Your second decision is your selection and timing of specific investment decisions. Generally, online stock transactions should cost you $7-$30 for up to 1000 shares. A full-service brokerage may charge you $200+ for this same transaction.
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