Planning For The Future - What To Buy For My IRA?

For this Thanksgiving day, I thought I would take a break from the woes of our current market and discuss some ideas that we can take advantage of in this market for our future well being. One of the biggest issues on The President's agenda is how to deal with the retirement of the baby boomer generation. I have had many analysts say to me, "Don't expect social security to be there for you when you get old." This can be scary if you're banking on it, but if you plan the right way, you don't have to worry about it. So today I just wanted to talk about setting up an IRA account and, in my eyes, some great buys on discount in this market to consider for your IRA. By the way, if you have not set up an IRA account and are interested, TradeKing is having a promotion where they will give you $50 credit for signing up before December. Pretty good deal and that can be your first deposit! To find out more, go to

IRA, or Individual Retirement Account is an account that has been set up to allow people to begin their retirement savings at a young age. One thing you will find, is that if you are on the right side of Time Value of Money, it can work to your favor! To help promote these accounts, the Government has set up some incentives for people using them.

There are two main types of IRA accounts, Roth and Traditional. Traditional IRA accounts are accounts that you contribute to, to where you can deduct your contributions on your tax statement. Your gains from this account are tax deferred to when you withdraw from the account. Roth IRA accounts are non-deductible but also are exempt from tax gains. It is up to you to decide which account works for you and which one you are more comfortable with.

There is a maximum amount which you can contribute to this account on an annual basis. Recently the max was bumped up to $5000 from $4000 in 2007. It is usually good to be able to max this out annually if you can to take advantage of the tax protection, at least I do anyway. The point is to leave the money in the account, until the appropriated age of 591/2 to avoid the bad 10% penalty of early withdrawal. However, there are certain things that have been approved for early withdrawal, such as house purchases and education funds. Check with your accountant for more information about that.

So what should go in this account? Many people have a variety of investments in their own account, depending on risk strategy. Here are stocks I have purchased for my own account that I have found to be great buys for the long haul. Please understand, I still believe there will still be more loss in the short term, but for my IRA, I think these stocks have reached low enough.

Verizon has shown it's ability to hold strong in this tough market. I also find it to be pretty recession proof. Cell phones have almost become a priority in the US household and Verizon's coverage area gives them competitive edge against competitors. To top it off, they have a 6% annual dividend, which is what puts this stock over the edge for me.

Even though General Electric has taken a beating in the recent months with everything else, I still find it at a steal for the long haul. People have their doubts of GE's ability to compete in this modern market, but come one. It's GE, the All American company. Plus, you have backing from Mr. Buffett himself. At $16, with a very strong 7.9% dividend, I don't see how you can go wrong with this one.

Conoco Phillips - I believe oil is the air of the future. The more tech savvy other nations get, the more consumption will occur. Even though we saw the bubble pop recently, I think Oil belongs close to $90-$100 a barrel in the long run. I also think Conoco has good leadership and is ahead of the game with competitors. At $54 with a 3.7% dividend, this one is in my IRA.

Suntech Power - This stock has taken a beating recently with the demise of oil prices. As oil prices go down, people feel that there is no need for alternative energy, including solar. However, this is not on Obama's agenda. He has already approved an alternative energy bill for when he is in office, that gives a lot love to solar. In fact, STP already took a big bounce this last week from the announcement. As soon as oil is back up, solar will be leading resource for alternative energy, and Suntech is a big player in that market. It may struggle here in the short term, but this stock is at least a $40-$50 stock in a stable market. Its 52 week high is $90. So you see just how high it can climb. Plus it diversifies my portfolio.

My tech pick, Apple. I think they are the new standard for computers, handheld media and phones. Sure Microsoft owns the PC market and software, but Apple is so well diversified they make me very comfortable, even in a shaky market like we're in currently. With there creative innovation, I believe they will continue to lead us into new avenues of technology. I believe they will once again return to a $200 stock price in the future. Plus they have 24 billion dollars in sitting in cash. That always helps!

So these are my main picks, for the current bottom. I try to stay diversified and stick with companies with low debt, high market caps, and a strong player in their market. Remember, IRA's are untouchable for a while, so it shouldn't worry you as much what will happen in the next 1-2 years as much as where it will be in 30 years. I hope this gives you some good insights in planning your retirement strategy. In any case, everyone should strive to plan their own retirement and start now! The earlier you start, the more you will have to retire with! Have a great Thanksgiving everyone, we'll see you tomorrow!


  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hey, Thanks for the good article. How can I check how much cash a company has? Can it be done by google finance?

  2. Finance Fanatic Says:

    On their quarterly filing, they include their balance sheet, which shows their assets and liabilities. Cash being their number 1 asset.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Nice article!
    With the money deposited in IRA, do I need to buy only stocks?
    Can i buy ETFs also?
    Do I stay deposited all the time &
    do I have flexibility to change asset/portfolio allocations anytime I wish?
    Can I day trade with my IRA $ using ETFs..which Im currently doing with my cash $.
    please let me know

  4. Finance Fanatic Says:

    your IRA accounts acts very similar to your brokerage account, as you can make multiple trades during the day. Yes you can trade ETFs as well

  5. Penny Stock Investing Says:

    I believe its just to risky to buy individual stocks for a IRA. I believe its always best to stick with exchange traded funds' with the exception of double or triple the idex of something. Mutual funds closed end or open ended are also great for IRA'S. I think income producing securities are great also but only invest in them though Exchange trade funds and closed end unds or open ended funds. Also never combine individual stocks in a IRA with exchange traded funds or mutual funds. This way you will never be tempted to over expose yourself to any individual stock.


    As far as an IRA goes its best to have a split between stocks bonds and cash. When ths market is on a roll and very popular favor cash and bonds somewhat over stocks. And whan stocks are down a lot and hated by everyone favor stocks somewhat over cash and bonds.

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