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Z2A:
I currently have an IRA with Smith Barney which has
not been performing that great yet costs me forty bucks a year regardless. I want to switch to a
discount broker and invest my retirement in the foolish 4 or RP4 or one of the many variations. Is
there much of a difference in making contributions to an IRA of this type compared to one made
up of mutual funds like I have now?


I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "difference in making contributions to an IRA of this type compared to one made up of mutual funds." In either account, you can make monthly deposits or a $2K lump sum, the biggest difference is that you can't invest a monthly IRA contribution into stocks without incurring some gross trading costs, even at $10-12 per trade. OTOH, your "free" mutual fund contribution gets eaten away by annual fees (1-2% or more, on average) & (potentially) 12b-1 fees (another 1-2%). Your best bet with a self-directed IRA is to bite the bullet, throw the full $2K in there & go for it.
There are lots of brokers out there with no annual fee IRAs, go to the TMF Discount Broker board for more info or: http://www.sonic.net/donaldj/
Ask the broker you select for the account transfer forms & you can transfer your money from your old account painlessly.

Chris
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