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Jenny wrote,

However, what if this isn't possible? SO and I are determined to max out our Roth IRAs despite low income (I'm in grad school, she's in first job out of college.)

Are there any good strategies for investing in monthly increments in an IRA? I don't want to pay Ameritrade a commision every month, but I don't want my money just sitting in there doing nothing until it's a big enough "lump" either.

In my opinion, you may want to look into investing in index funds. It seems the popular choices are from the Vanguard family of funds and TIAA-CREF family of funds. Both of these groups of funds offer very low expense ratios, which allows more of your money to work for you.

In addition, investing in an index fund will not require you to pay consistent commission fees each time you add funds. <Disclaimer>I am not sure if Ameritrade operates that way but I do know that Scottrade and Vanguard both do</Disclaimer>

One caveat of investing in the index funds is that you typically need to satisfy a minimum amount to begin investing in that fund. For instance, I have selected to invest directly with Vanguard and had to open my IRA with a minimum of $1000. Depending on the broker you are using, you may be able to start with less than that if you setup recurring contributions. I believe TIAA-CREF allows a $500 starting balance if you make automatic contributions.

Hope that helps some and if you have more questions, holler back.

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