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thanks fool members for your input. i'll do my best to incorporate your suggested recommendations. i guess it all comes down to your own research on where to put your money. everybody has their own opinions on how to invest for maximum growth. nothing is ever fool proof and nothing is ever "safe". it's all about getting through the ups and downs, but hopefully, the overall trend is up.

i understand that i will need to open separate accounts for myself and my wife.

i do have another question. in the beginning i won't be able to put too much away for retirement because of my current budget. i've read articles that even a little per month is better than nothing. is that true? for example, if i put like a measly $50/mo each for me and my wife for the next 30yrs. can i really do much with that? i still have the thinking that "if you don't have much, why invest?" obviously, that's not my plan but if that were the scenario - could it still work?

thanks for reading...all of you have been helpful.

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