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Hello Mercer,
You can open a Roth IRA account at a discount broker adn just plunk the money into Spiders (AMEX: SPY) and have 'pert-neer' the same thing as the VG500 fund, but you will also have the option to easily trade individual stocks (such as the Foolish Four) or other index funds such as those based upon the NASDQ 100 (Amex: QQQ) when you feel more cofident and your contributions have grown a bit. I opened one with TD Waterhouse and no complaints yet. On-line trades are $12. I think there are lots of other good ones out there and the MF board has a section dedicated to the discount brokers as I recall.

As you have already said, the biggest benefit may be that you learn to do early what you are probably going to be doing sooner or later and having some fun while doing it.

Good luck,
-- John

Mercer wrote:
I'm going to open a Roth IRA this year and have been planning on socking the money away in Vanguard's Index 500. After
reading the many interesting posting here and on other boards on TMF, I'm starting to think that it may be more lucrative,
intellectually challenging, and fun to may my own investment decisions.

Where are the recommend institutions for this kind of things? Schwab? Vanguard? Others?

Thank you in advance for your advice...

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