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Here's the 10-year expenses for a $100,000 investment in the 3 alternatives.

Buy one $100,000 10-Year TIPS at auction -- 10-Year expenses = $25 or less

Put $100,000 into the Vanguard TIPS fund -- 10-Year expenses = more than $2,200.

Put $100,000 into the iShares TIPS ETF fund -- 10-Year expenses = more than $2,000.

As low as Vanguard's expenses are, you still get hosed to the tune of thousands of dollars over time.

Very good point - it's nice to avoid the fees if you can. Along that route - you mention $100,000 as your purchase. Is this the lowest denominator to buy direct or can you buy in $50 (or whatever) increments like I-bonds? For some of us, $100,000 is a little more than we'd like to plunk into paper at the moment <grin>

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