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Hello all, I have another newbie to investing question. I do'nt have any investing experience, but have been doing some research for the past month on investing info. From what I have read, the advantages of an index fund with it's low cost and low volitility seem to be a good place to start as a base or core of my portfolio. And in looking at the index funds(such as vanguards s&p 500 and total mkt indx) it has 2 options. One is to buy each fund for 3k, the other is to start an IRA and you get it for 1k. My question is, is there any disadvantage to buying it through an IRA account as to buying it straight? And since I can only contribute 3k per year to an IRA that would mean I am restricted to purchasing 3 funds, and then would have to wait until 2005 to contribute any more funds if I started with the full 3k? Basically I am getting a tax return of about 5k, and am trying to build a solid foundation to my investing portfolio. I'm 23, and wanting to start off early but on the right foot. Any advice on any of the above would be greatly appreciated...thanks!

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