(Note: I am a financial advisor so my opinion may be biased)I don't agree with the 90%+ recommendations at this and other sites that tell people to simply go directly to vanguard or other online sites; ESPECIALLY for folks that are new to this as you state.People with little experience typically don't perform their own surgery.When making significant retirement decisions (and that lack a moderate amount of investment experience), consult a professional.All the rage of the 90's were index funds. Everyone thought they could do it themselves, with no experience, by simply picking an index fund. All it took was a significant downturn in the market to prove them wrong. Index funds are great when the market is going up. Index funds are lousy when the market is going down or sideways - as it is generally considered doing today.Additionally, a financial advisor can sell you the same vanguard funds, if that is what you want, at no additional cost. A financial advisor can also help you stay the course when you get cold feet and want to sell out of the account when it goes down. And lastly, you can hold an advisor responsible (civil and criminal) if they give bad advice. If you go it alone and you make bad decisions, you have no one to blame but yourself.You can find an advisor that charges nothing for their advice and only makes money from 12b-1 fees (tiny amount) if you want a no-load fund. Simply tell them that is what you want and don't take no for an answer.I usually sell loaded funds because I think there are better funds out there but if a client wants no-load, that is what I give them.