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I work for a well-known insurance company and the 401K offering has a broad selection of funds but more importantly to me, it also offers a self-directed brokerage account. Since I am fund-phobic, I have my entire account channeled to the brokerage side where I only pay $7.95/trade fees and can do pretty much what I please with the money, except trade options or trade on margin. I have also been able to move my private account to the same brokerage and enjoy the same services as offered by the 401K, and last year opened a ROTH funded by the sale of stock in the private, taxable account. Moving funds from the taxable account into either Roth or IRA accounts for myself and DH is a goal over the next 3.5 years.

My returns, not including ongoing deposits to the 401K, are running about 9% his year. Last year was much lower and of course 2008 was nothing short of a disaster, but any stocks in the accounts were held thru the downward slide and I'm gradually divesting the stocks I no longer wish to own as they reach their pre-crash levels. My strategy there is that while I haven't made any money to speak of, I haven't actually lost any either(except the pittance I might have made if the money was in a CD somewhere).

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