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Hey guys, I've been a lurker but this is my first post.

I'm just getting started with Retirment Investing/IRAs so please forgive my naivete. Sorry to say I'm going to be 40 this year and it took this long for me to get the wake up call. Better late then never though, at least that's what I tell myself as i kick myself in the behind when I think how much I could have invested by now.

I came into some money this year and I plan to open a Roth IRA for 2001 and 2002 with max contributions in each ($5000 total). I've done a great deal of research and settled on 2 mutual funds (dodgx and mpgfx for those who care) for the IRAs which I will obtain directly from the fund provider rather then through a discount broker.

I've also started putting in the max contribution ($11,000, some of which is matched) in my company's 401k which is currently split between company stock (IBM) and the Vanguard Small Cap Value Index fund (the 2 best performers offered in my plan).

I'm also planning to open a discount brokerage account (either Ameritrade or ScottTrade) and do some careful stock investments. I also plan to put next years IRA in some high quality individual stocks (3m, walmart, J&J, etc).

And, I'm also looking to get into some DRIPS (possibly 4 at $25/month each for a total of $100/month).

Whew, ok... how does this strategy sound? Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Also, regarding the IRA mutuals:

1. are the dividends/gains generally reinvested? While the MPGFX site indicates that they are, the DODGX site didn't even mention it. Unless I'm missing something, why would you ever want to receive the dividends/gains rather then reinvest them... particularly with a Roth.

2. Since they are in a Roth, I assume all reinvested dividends/gains are tax free. Is this true?

3. Do the dividends/gains reduce the max contribution I can make to a Roth? Thats is, say i earn $100 in 2003 from the 2001/2002 IRA accounts. Does that mean i can only contribute $2900 for 2003?

4. Can I split any years IRA contribution between any number of custodians, or does it need to be one custodial account?

Sorry this is so long... thanks for reading this far if you did.


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