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Jon,

Some places charge fees to be the custodian of your IRA, and some places will be custodian of your IRA for free. Different places charge different fees for making a trade. You can buy something like VFINX through other brokers rather than buying it straight from Vanguard and having them be the custodian, but no matter where you choose to buy it, it will always have that .18% operating expense. That's basically what it costs to provide the fund to you.

Look for a brokerage that provides the services you want for the least expense. Generally, one with more services might charge more trading fees and one with less services might charge less for each trade you make.

...Just some thoughts.
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