questionswhere should i open my ira?

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Northern Ireland obviously.

vote-for-4vote-against

Somewhere in private. Nobody wants to see that, no matter how you feel about your body.

vote-for6vote-against

Three things to look for when opening up an IRA:
- Do they charge any fees for having an IRA? There are many places that offer no fee IRAs so you shouldn't have to pay for them to household one for you.
- What types of investments can the institution hold - mutual funds, stocks, bonds?
- How much are the fees to buy those stocks, bonds, and even some mutual funds?

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Look for the variety of IRAs they have available and make sure the stocks are pretty diversified. The more diverse the portfolio, the less risk you are taking should the market go sideways. I know things with singular type stocks (i.e. technology stock portfolio) are attractive because the can make money quick, but it can also lose money quick.

As for the bank, I would definitely look into USAA options. They tend to have better offers than most private banks and credit unions.

vote-for3vote-against

Vanguard and Fidelity are the two best places to open an IRA, mainly because they've got great mutual funds with very low fees.

vote-for1vote-against

I have an IRA with my credit union, mostly because I do not have much money to work with in my IRA (I have much more in 401K's but I can't move them to the IRA unless/until I stop my current job)
I would suggest credit unions if you want "safe" investments and low risk (at your age I would personally go for higher risk)
If you go with an investment firm (fidelity / vanguard or others) defenitly look at the fee structure and get the lowest you can.

And remember that this is a long term investment, so do NOT plan on moving your money around once it's in. a re-balancing of your risk ratios a couple times a year at most is what I would say. (I personally check about twice a year to see if I need to move something to keep my risk ratio's where I want them.)

vote-for3vote-against

Some of the comments here make me think there needs some clarifying.

An IRA is NOT an investment. It's a type of an investment ACCOUNT where you can buy investments. The IRA has various tax attributes depending on the type - traditional, Roth, self-directed, SEP-IRA, and Simple. You can hold the same investment in all of them.

A stock, bond, mutual fund, art work, real estate, car, etc are investments that can be held in the IRAs.

Whether you can hold any or all of them in the IRA depends on where you open your account. If you open an IRA with a mutual fund company, chances are you can only buy their mutual funds. If you open an IRA at a bank or credit union, you may or may not be able to buy any mutual fund you want or stocks or bond - it depends on the bank and credit union. Note that nearly all banks have a brokerage unit that can buy stocks for you.

cont.

vote-for3vote-against

@first2summit: If you open an IRA at a brokerage firm, you can buy any stock, or bond and most mutual fund. Some mutual funds don't allow outside sales. Some do allow it but the brokerage firm has an additional charge to it.

I'll say most places won't allow you to hold non-traditional investments like real estate, art, etc. For this, you'd have the self-directed IRA which requires a trustee or custodian.

The SEP-IRA (Self-Employed Plan) and the Simple IRA are for businesses.

A simple way to think about it is that an IRA is a bucket and the investment are the things you put into it. There are different types of buckets and many many investments you an put into them.

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It depends upon what you are going to put in it. If you are just going to put in mutual funds I'd recommend Vanguard. They have the lowest costs of any provider and a wide range of mutual funds, all with good results and a very low overhead. If you are planning on trading individual stocks of ETFs you may want to consider Scottrade. They have no fees to establish and maintain a brokerage account for an IRA, and have a small but comprehensive set commission free ETs.

If you get the impression that costs are important you are correct. Over a long period, account fees and funds with high costs will decrease, or even wipe out your gains.