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I will soon be turning 18 and will be managing my already established IRA account...
I have aprox. $2,500 in a traditional IRA account (custodial up until now) that is all in one underperforming mutual fund through an expensive broker.
I want to keep all of this money in an IRA account, but I want to set up this account through a discount online broker so that I can trade stocks (using top ten strategy) at will. If I close out my existing account will I lose my IRA tax-exempt status? Do I have to wait until December to complete this transfer? What is the first step? Thank you very much!
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I want to keep all of this money in an IRA account, but I want to set up this account through a discount online broker so that I can trade stocks (using top ten strategy) at will. If I close out my existing account will I lose my IRA tax-exempt status? Do I have to wait until December to complete this transfer?

You're making what strikes me as a sensible and mature decision, and fortunately the system will also make this an easy one. Open an account with the broker of your choice ... the discount broker boards here have good information ... and fill out the papers to transfer your assets directly from one account to the other. It's that simple, and they handle the rest. If the old broker has a fee for closing the account, you can play games with it by transferring most but not quite all of the assets from the account so it's not really being closed. Even if those last few dollars get a meager return, that may be a whole lot better than having them keep $25 because you've wised up about over-paying for under-performance.

The new account is still an IRA and you have no tax issues if they directly transfer the funds for you. Also, there is no need to wait; you can move the money any time after age 18. As for the strategy you have in mind, please take a good look at transaction costs and the size of your account before making a final decision. I'm not disagreeing with your strategy, just suggesting that you make sure you've taken costs into account.
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<<You're making what strikes me as a sensible and mature decision, and fortunately the system will also make this an easy one.>>

Here, here! Also heavily consider converting this traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. Given you age, your probable past earnings income, and tax bracket, it's a no brainer. Plus, with the next 50 years ahead of you, that "measly" 2k can become several million all tax free. To quote Austin Powers "shag me baby".

JLC
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