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Call them and ask them when in the year the fee is assessed (let's say, December 15 - though, they may not be able to answer so specifically). So put your $4K in after that for 2005 (you have until April 15, 2006), and just make sure to get another $1K or $2K in before that time next year (hopefully, you'll have another full $4K in).

Given that, you'll have to go with only one fund, so a 'total market' kind of fund (but, of course, indexes still have the $10K minimum). This is all if you decide to go with Vanguard. While they're an excellent choice, by no means do I feel any one decision is the only right one.

You could use a discount broker to buy ETFs that mimic the index funds until you build the account large enough to avoid annual fees at Vanguard. When it is large enough, you could transfer the IRA to Vanguard.


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