I've posted another chapter of my upcoming eBook, Stock Investing Basics, over at Your Money Is Your Life.
This is Chapter 5, and it's about the various investment account options you have available.
Here's an excerpt:
When you open an eTrade account, you can open a taxable brokerage account, an IRA, a Roth IRA, or an Education Savings Account (also known as a Coverdell Account). For most people, you'd open a taxable brokerage account or some sort of IRA to invest in stocks, stock mutual funds, and ETFs.
If you open an account with Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, or Vanguard (three of the most popular mutual fund companies), you can open a taxable or retirement account, with the investment vehicles being mutual funds. Some mutual fund companies are also brokerage companies (and some offer 401k services as well), so the water can get a little muddy; however, if you choose a company like Fidelity, you can conceivably manage ALL of your investments with one company and one logon.
Your 401k, if you're so lucky to be enrolled in one, is one of the better retirement plans concocted by the federal government...