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I have spent a fair amount of time researching different types of investments, and I feel adequately informed about them for the present. For instance, I invest primarily in VFINX, but I also want to invest a small portion of my portfolio in about 10 well-researched individual stocks. I'm careful about things, taking my time to make decisions I can live with.

What I need more information about is whether/how much to invest in different kinds of investment vehicles. For instance, my employer (a nonprofit) provides a SEP-IRA (which I put 100% into VFINX) to which it contributes 6% of my salary. This is an inflexible arrangement. I want to supplement this with contributions of my own, such that the total contributions on my behalf equal 10-15% (I haven't finished my budget yet, so I don't know what I can afford right now). I cannot contribute to the SEP-IRA, but I have been contributing to a 403(b) (also into VFINX). I also have a previously-existing Roth IRA (yes, all in VFINX) to which I have not been contributing the past few years. I am unsure whether I should contribute to the Roth or to the 403(b), or both. Also, I don't know what a tax-deferred annuity is, nor whether it is appropriate for me. I would appreciate advice on how best to invest in these different vehicles.

As for the stock investments, those are currently in an "individual" (i.e. non-IRA) account at Scottrade. These assets are intended to serve two purposes: to grow money for retirement, and, in conjunction with the portion of this account that is held as cash, to provide an emergency fund (which I term loosely, to include things such as job loss and major automobile or uncovered medical expenses [though my insurance is good]). I wonder if I should have two separate accounts at Scottrade. What are the ramifications (especially with regard to taxes) of trading in an IRA account vs. in a non-IRA account? I won't be trading often; I will be buying to hold long-term.

I am 31 years old and expect to retire at age 65. My current income is just under $40k. Working in the counseling field, I don't expect to jump any tax brackets by the time I retire.

Any advice would be welcome. I'd be happy to provide other details if that would help. Thanks!
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