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You are smart enough to be reading the Fool site and asking investment questions, so investing in a self-directed account should be a snap. By all means roll to an IRA. Pick a custodian, the custodian (brokerage firm or maybe a mutual fund company--you have more options with a brokerage for buying stocks of your own choosing with suggestions on this site) will send you forms, which you send to the custodian of the 401K plan. The 401K custodian should make the check out to the new custodian of your IRA, NOT to you. This is important and has a bunch of tax implications. The 401K custodian may send the check, made out to the new custodian, to you, and that is ok--you forward the check to the new custodian, and you know it was sent.
In general, you can do a whole lot better managing your money yourself than someone else will do in managing it for you. Buy good stocks and the market will serve you well. Good luck!
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