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I'm very new to investing, and need all the help I can get. I recently learned that I have up until April 15 to make an IRA contribution for 1999. I'm 26, and know the future consequences of skipping even a single year. I'd like to open an account through a broker rather than a bank, but I have no clue as to what broker to use or how to have my money invested. I don't think a month is much time to learn all I need to know to make the right choice. Should I go ahead and pick a brokerage, (say Schwab) invest the money, and spend this year figuring out if I've made the right choice? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

LR
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I'm very new to investing, and need all the help I can get. I recently learned that I have up until April 15 to make an IRA
contribution for 1999. I'm 26, and know the future consequences of skipping even a single year. I'd like to open an
account through a broker rather than a bank, but I have no clue as to what broker to use or how to have my money
invested. I don't think a month is much time to learn all I need to know to make the right choice. Should I go ahead and
pick a brokerage, (say Schwab) invest the money, and spend this year figuring out if I've made the right choice? Any
comments would be greatly appreciated.




You are wright about not skiping a year. An IRA can always be moved to another broker or investment. Therfore open a ROTH IRA with E*Schwab and put the money in a money market account. Now you can take your time and deceide what you want to do. I would look toward index type products with the 2,000.


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Greetings, LR, and welcome. You wrote:

<<I'm very new to investing, and need all the help I can get. I recently learned that I have up until April 15 to make an IRA contribution for 1999. I'm 26, and know the future consequences of skipping even a single year. I'd like to open an account through a broker rather than a bank, but I have no clue as to what broker to use or how to have my money invested. I don't think a month is much time to learn all I need to know to make the right choice. Should I go ahead and pick a brokerage, (say Schwab) invest the money, and spend this year figuring out if I've made the right choice? >>

If you are going to wait until making a firm decision as to which way to go with your investments, I would suggest you make your contribution prior to April 17 (this year's deadline for 1999 contributions). I further suggest you use a no load, low cost mutual fund like the Vanguard S&P 500 Index for that purpose. You can always transfer the money later to a self-directed IRA at a broker of your choice when you finally decide what to do.

I assume you're new to both Fooldom and to investing. That's great on both counts! You have wandered into a forum that believes you, as an individual, can do far better for yourself than most professional money managers. Provided, that is, you take some time to learn a few basic investment concepts and do some self-examination to see where you fit on the risk tolerance scale. Therefore, why not take some time now -- not later -- to be sure about what you want to do. Start first by reading The 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly, which you can access from the Quick Find box in the upper right part of most screens on The Motley Fool. They will suggest some important things you should consider. Then I suggest you toddle over to your local library, discount bookstore, or even here in the Fool Mart, and pick up some easily read, easily understood, inexpensive texts that will thoroughly explain how to invest in stocks using some simple systems that will take but an hour per year of your time (if you're slow) yet produce returns that put the majority of professional money managers to shame. I suggest and commend the following to you: "Beating the Dow" by O'Higgins; "The Dividend Investor" by Petty and Knowles; "The Motley Fool Investment Guide" and "You Have More Than You Think" by the Gardner brothers; "One Up on Wall Street" by Lynch; and "What Works on Wall Street" by O'Shaughnessey. All are well worth their low cost and the small investment in time it takes to read them. Get them and read them. You'll be glad you did.

While you're doing all that, also take some time to explore the various nooks and crannies of Fooldom to see what others are doing and what they're discussing. I also recommend you read my 13 Steps to Foolish Retirement Planning and my Foolish Retirement Plan Primer. Both may be found at http://www.fool.com/Retirement/Retirement.htm , and they will help give you some insight as to what you can do. To learn more about brokers and how to select one, check out our Discount Brokers area at http://www.fool.com/media/DiscountBrokerageCenter/DiscountBrokerageCenter.htm. In the process of all that reading, you'll gain a wealth of knowledge and information that will serve to clarify how you want to approach this very personal issue. Don't be afraid to ask a question anywhere in Fooldom. Folks around here are great about answering questions and clearing up misunderstandings.

Regards..Pixy
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