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I'm 25 years old and about to open up my first Roth IRA (joy!). I just have a couple of questions.
1) I'm either going to invest in a stock or a mutual fund. I've narrowed the funds down to either the Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX) or Vanguard Growth and Income (VQNPX). Here's my question: If I invest in an index fund, Vanguard charges $10 per account/year until my balance is $10K; however, if I invest in VQNPX I will not get the charge. On the other side, the index fund's expense ratio is 0.18, and the VQPNX is 0.37. I'm obviously investing long term, so which fund would be the best in the long run?

2) If I choose a stock, can I choose SPY? I realize that SPY is traded like a stock, but if I buy SPY through an online broker, will I be charged for a stock trade or fund trade?

Thanks for your time, any info would be greatly appreciated.

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Q 1 is difficult to answer. On the surface it depends on how large your account balance is and how quickly you plan to grow it. But other factors are how the two funds are expected to perform. At first approximation, you should do VQPNX until that 0.19% difference equals $10 in your account. That would be $5263.16. But you will have do decide for yourself what is best in your case.

If you buy SPY, you will pay a stock purchase commission both when you buy and when you sell. It has a low expense ratio--0.18% or so. Otherwise, SPY ownership involves no other expenses. So shop around and buy it at a discount broker. But watch out for Roth IRA accounts that have annual maintenance fees.
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