With little more than one week left before the tax-filing deadline, it's time to fund that all-important Roth IRA if you haven't done so already. Let's briefly look at why a Roth IRA is so essential in saving for your retirement. Then we'll discuss a few great stocks for a growth investor's Roth.

Wave goodbye to Uncle Sam
Hands down, the best way to save for retirement is a Roth IRA. You contribute after-tax dollars to a Roth account. In exchange, you can withdraw earnings both tax and penalty free, as long as you've owned the Roth IRA for at least five years and have reached age 59½.

If you've not made your contribution for 2012, you have until the April 15 tax-filing deadline. So get going already! But, before contributing, be sure to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with Roth IRA rules and eligibility requirements.


Stock ideas for the growth investor
For investors yearning for growth, there are great stocks trading at good buys in today's market. I've narrowed it down to three companies, which all boast competitive positions and enticing growth prospects.

Google
Google currently generates the overwhelming majority of its revenues from search advertising. But, in order to remain relevant beyond its core search platform, the California-based company is actively diversifying its business. Its YouTube acquisition, Android mobile software, Google Ad Exchange, Google+ social network, and Chrome browser services are evidence of this. Continued acquisitions will likely propel growth for Google.

Panera Bread
Panera has built its rock-solid corporate reputation on its fresh products, relatively healthy menu offerings, and compassion for its customers and community. Its inviting restaurants continue to entice its more affluent customer base. And, unlike competitor Darden Restaurants, which has been focusing on pricing promotions, Panera has been able to command higher prices in conjunction with enhancing its menu.

Apple
Apple has successfully managed a decade of dazzling growth, and gone about it in a fiscally sensible way. But even though Apple is considered a leading innovator, it faces increasing competition from Samsung. And Facebook may pose an eventual threat with its newly announced Facebook Home, a suite of services that are integrated into Google's Android phones. But look for the second half of this year to likely be filled with new iProducts. Great news for investors, the stock currently trades at an incredibly cheap forward price-to-earnings ratio of nine, which is half that of the overall stock market!

Take action today
Don't let the upcoming Roth IRA contribution deadline slip past you. Consider these three attractive growth stocks for your contribution dollars today. Take the time to fund a retirement account, and secure your financial future. Years from now, you'll be so glad you did.

There's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there's a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

The article 3 Growth Stocks for Your Roth IRA originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Nicole Seghetti owns shares of Apple. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleSeghetti. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Facebook, Google, and Panera Bread. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Darden Restaurants, Facebook, Google, and Panera Bread. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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