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is just investing in a S&P index fund for my IRA a good thing.

Good as measured by what? In some ways I can say yes and in others I'd say no.

what would be best for IRA.

Best as defined by what? What kinds of other investments are you thinking about having so that you could look at the list and determine which are best to be sheltered within the IRA in contrast to being in say a taxable account.

as far as S&P fund is concerned in relatin to longterm IRA investing, are Spiders good or say the Vanguard fund? I really just plan to make my IRA contribution once a commission shouldn't matter...what do others think.

Well, you do realize there are more than a few choices here in a sense. For example, why do you want the S & P 500 instead of say the total market? Even among exchange-traded S & P 500 funds there is the equal-weighted RSP, the iShare IVV and the Spider SPY for a few ideas.

what's a good IRA strategy?

In my own IRA I have a couple of mid-cap funds, one with a growth tilt and the other with a value tilt, for one example. I would generally argue that if you have tax-inefficient investments that these go within the Roth so that you don't pay taxes on the gains.

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