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I'm just starting out, and I have a question about IRAs. My degree is in music, and I'm going to be working part time as a music director in a church, and then running my own studio teaching voice, so there isn't any kind of retirement plan available to me right now. Currently I don't have a bundle of money saved up, but I have enough to get a start. I'm looking at setting up an IRA at a discount brokerage using the Fool4 (most of the ones I'm looking at have free, no minimum IRAs) and then doing direct investing through any other companies I'm interested in. Does this sound workable? Should I use a traditional IRA and take the tax break off my taxes at the end of the year, or go with a Roth (since I'm hoping to buy a house in the next 5 years) and pay taxes now?

Also, which would be the best brokerage to do this at? I'm looking most seriously at Waterhouse and Datek. I'm a little concerned about Waterhouse since the closest branch is about 250 miles away in Nashville (I'm close to Knoxville, TN) and I've heard they tend to lose deposit checks sent to their central office in NY in the Discount Brokerage board. I have about $1000-1500 to work with, and I want to split it between the IRA and some direct investing (to avoid brokerage fees). Do you think this plan is workable? I would welcome any suggestions, as I've just been studying up on this myself, and no one ever taught me how to do this kind of thing.

Thanks a bunch :)
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