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hiya spiderant

Cat just said ALMOST all of the advice I could give ya...

last time I checked, vanguard charges $10 per year for any account with less than $10,000...plus has some IRA custodian fees (double check on that...I'm not really sure)

there are no low balance fees at TIAA-CREF. I own some TCEIX in a taxable account, so I'm not really sure about the IRA's, but I dont think they have any IRA fees, either.

TIAA-CREF's expense ratios are a little higher than comparable vanguard funds, but not really enough to justify that low balance requirement, IMO...here's an article that discusses it:
http://www.indexfunds.com/articles/20001115_VG-TIAA_com_tax_JK.htm

have looked at TIAA-CREF, is everyone eligible to open an account or do you have to be a teacher?

I got that impression the first time I went poking around their website, but you don't. you can download the mutual fund prospectus from their website, and it explains it. www.tiaacref.com

You can open an IRA with them and with Scottrade you can buy Vanguard funds. I don't plan on trading stocks and not sure of the fees with these places as compared to those mentioned above.

if you only plan on holding mutual funds, and don't plan on trading stocks, and decide on a fund family that you're happy with, opening an account directly with the mutual fund company is almost always the most cost-effective route.

HTH,

gahdzila
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