No 401(k) Plan

Q: The company I work for doesn’t have a 401(k) plan. I’m 33 years old and want to have enough to retire comfortably. I just opened an IRA with Citibank, and I contribute $300 per month. Any advice?
Ozzie, Via the Internet

A: Congratulations for making the commitment to fund your retirement. At 33, you still have many years of employment ahead of you to structure a portfolio to reach all of your retirement goals. An IRA is a great way for you to put away money that will grow tax-deferred for your retirement. The law allows you to set aside $4,000 for tax year 2005, so if you can, I would encourage you to increase your monthly contribution to $333.50 per month in order to maximize the benefit of this savings vehicle.

As you consider investments for your IRA, be mindful to invest aggressively because you have enough time left to recover from any market lows. Check out www.Morningstar.com for growth mutual funds that have performed consistently during the last five years and small-cap funds that have strong managers with track records of picking young companies with great potential. Also, if your IRA administrator allows, go to www.ETFconnect.com for exchange-traded funds that will give you access to index-type funds in diverse investment sectors, such as gold and other commodities.

If your income allows, also consider a universal life insurance policy, which will allow you to build up a cash account you can borrow against that will also grow tax-deferred.

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