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Please forgive me for re-hashing a topic that I've read a lot about, but I'm simply having trouble understanding it all and need some down-to-earth language. I'm 26 yrs old and trying to get together the information I need to begin a retirement account. I am self-employed (theatre technician) and every dollar I use to invest is after-tax. What would be the best option for me?

Also, as I understand it, with a Roth IRA, I could only contribute $2000/year. Would I be able to contribute more with other plans? Since my occupation is quite vigorous physically, I really don't see myself doing it in 25 or 30 years, and would like to contribute as much as possible to plan for the worst.

Also, I've recently begun investing (only $1000 so far to get my feet wet) and am wondering if the best course of action would be to transfer those stocks to my retirement plan, or keep them as is?

Thank you for any help!
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