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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.

If you go with the Total Market Index there is no reason to also invest in the S&P 500, since the Total Market is heavily weighted toward the S&P 500 anyway. IOW, you really only have to buy one fund if it's the Total Market Index.

If you are not in a very high tax bracket now, I would opt for a Roth IRA over a deductible traditional IRA. A Roth doesn't have restrictions and penalties on withdrawals like a TIRA does, and all withdrawals are non-taxable. In either case, I would choose an IRA over a taxable account at your age, to get you off on the right foot.

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