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Jane, who manages your IRA now? Have you checked with Vanguard on their transaction fees? Its news to me that Vanguard charges transaction fees. Usually that comes up when you own a brokerage account and then choose to buy certain mutual funds.

If your account is very small (usually below $10K), sometimes Vanguard has extra fees for that. But start by finding out what fees Vanguard would charge for an IRA in their mutual fund account.

If your account is too small for Vanguard, then you may want to consinder an account at a discount broker. Check for their annual maintenace fees. Some have had no maintenance fees, but these policies seem to change. ETrade, Scottrade, and TDWaterhouse are the ones most often recommended on these boards. I use a Fidelity brokerage account. Vanguard may also have brokerage accounts. Bank of America just announced no commissions for accounts over $25K.

In a brokerage account you will want to fully understand which funds you can buy with no fees, and which ones require transaction fees. If you find suitable funds without transaction fees, fine. Otherwise, paying brokers commission for ETF's might be best. SPY is the S&P 500 tracking stock. QQQQ is the NASDaq 100 tracking stock. There are many others.

Decide what is best for you to invest in and then choose the custodian with the best fee/service package for your needs.

Good luck.
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