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I have a somewhat complicated situation and was wondering if anyone out there could help me.

In early 1998, I opened a Roth IRA at American Express and bought into one of their mutual fund with the intention of using the money toward the purchase of a home sometime after 2003. I have contributed 2K each year since. The return (avg. 16%/year) on it has been okay, but I'm getting hit with a $58/year service charge and the service is not that great (calls go unreturned, they can't seem to update my address despite a year's worth of notices that I've moved, etc.).

I started looking into other funds with other companies then realized that Amex will hit me with a contingent deferred sales charge (CDSC) of 3% (this will be reduced to 0% by 2004). (Duh. Now that I'm older and more Foolish, I know to look out for back end loads like this.)

I am wondering if I can open another, cheaper Roth IRA elsewhere in 2001, contribute my $2000 to that one until I'm ready to buy a house, then combine the two.

Or should I sell the shares of the fund I have now, take the 3% loss, and transfer all the money at once to a different company? Or should I just hang on to it and suck up the $58 a year?

Any advice would be appreciated!



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