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Subject:  Re: New to FIRE Date:  3/24/2004  4:34 PM
Author:  warrl Number:  2098 of 5245

Well, basically, you have many good options at this point and you simply have to decide which is best for you.

Increasing your savings will give you more options in the future, or the same options sooner. Of course, it will also decrease your options now, particularly if you put the savings into retirement accounts.

Different types of accounts have different tax advantages and fit better with different styles of investing - and with different plans for the future.

I *am* planning on retiring early, specifically just before my 51st birthday, and because of that, given a choice between allowed contributions to a Roth IRA and *deductible* contributions to a conventional IRA (or 401K), there is some preference for the latter.

However, if you are the sort of investor who will put the money into an index fund and leave it there until you're 60, your best choice of where to put the money is either a taxable account or a Roth IRA. Not a 401K or a conventional IRA.

If your investment choices in your 401K are not good or don't fit the style of investor you are, you will naturally dis-favor the 401K.

The big issues:
*Add money to your investment pool regularly
*For each part of your investment pool, have an investment strategy. This strategy should, in approximate descending order of importance:
(1) Be something you understand and are comfortable with;
(2) Provide you with reasoned confidence that in the long run the strategy is good;
(3) Tell you when to get OUT of any particular investment;
(4) Tell you which (if any) investments, out of those you are considering, to put your currently-available cash into, and how much into each one;
(5) Identify possible investments for consideration.

(I recently read a several-years-old book entitled "A Fool and His Money", totally unrelated to The Motley Fool, about the author's adventures in investing. He tried several strategies, none of which did any of the first three things I list that a strategy should do. Almost every investment he made, he lost money on.)

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