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I had posted this at "Ask a foolish question," but this seems like a more appropriate location, since I have a question regarding an IRA.

I want to open our first Roth IRA account, and I am looking for some advice. My investing experience to date consists of setting up our (my wife and I) 401(k) accounts, and trying to educate myself over the past year or so. I am 26 years old, so I am looking to have the money in this account for 30+ years.

I have talked with a financial advisor recently, and he had recommended that Ameritrade would be a good place to set up an IRA if I decide to go out on my own, rather than work with him. If I do go on my own, I would like something that allows me to trade stocks, bonds, and mutual funds as cheaply as possible. I would probably start with something like an S&P 500 index fund, until I decide on something more specific. Ameritrade looks pretty good, but Brown|Co seems to be potentially cheaper. Does anyone have an opinion of either of these companies, or any other company?

I have another, more general investing question, regarding dollar-cost averaging. I have read of the advantages of dollar-cost averaging, but it seems that if I were to invest $500 a month, doing 2-3 purchases/trades a month, commission costs on stock/mutual fund trades could eat up a lot of my gains. Would it be better to just invest once a year, or am I missing something? I am interested in taking the free trial on a couple of the Motley Fool newsletters, but I don't know if it is worth the cost of the subscription fee, plus a couple potential trades each month.

Anyway, please excuse the ramblings of a newcomer, and thanks in advance for your help.

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