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You'll have to forgive my lack of knowledge, but I'm only in college, and I'm still trying to figure out the best place to start my IRA.

Let's say I set up an IRA with a discount broker such as Ameritrade (I won't have much more than $1,000 to start with). For now, I want to invest most of my IRA money in an index fund. How does this work with an IRA? Does Ameritrade have certain index funds that I can invest in, or do I tell them which index fund to put it in, or what?

I'm trying to get a sound grasp of how IRA's work before I invest, and any help is greatly appreciated :)
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