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Management fees are a big killer to return, and those fees tend to be lowest at Vanguard. Vanguard is nice to deal with and has an excellent array of funds. Ask then about various retirement account fees. I think they may be waived in some circumstances. You might start with their total stock market fund and diversify from there as your portfolio grows. The Couch Potato portfolio advocated by Burns is only total stock fund plus total bond fund; the REIT index and international stocks can be added for diversification as your portfolio grows.

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