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1) Can anyone recommend some good investment tracking software? Remember, I am a novice so the more user friendly, the better.

The most commnly discussed and widely used ones are Microsoft Money and Quicken. They each have a message board here at TMF where issues are asked and discussed.

2) I don't understand the difference between an index fund and an ETF. They seem the same to me.

They are quite similar. An index fund is a mutual fund that tracks an index of some type. The mutual funds can be purchased from the fund company that maintains the fund. They can also be purchased through a broker that acts as a agent for the fund company. Generally one invests a stated dollar value into the fund and then is given a number of shares including fractional shares when necessary. The fund is priced once a day at the end of market trading and that is the price or net asset value (NAV) that you get it for.
An ETF also tracks and index and may be the same index as one or more of the index funds. ETF's are purchased through a broker by specifying a specific number of shares similar to a stock. The ETF can be bought throughout the day when markets are open and the price is constantly changing also similar to a stock.

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