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There am more than one kind of fees and me thinks there is a definitional problem in this thread.

Some financial institutions (banks are prime offenders here) charge fees for maintaining an IRA. Unless a person has an IRA balance that is small say $5,000 or so, paying such fees is stupid.

Unless a person is keeping their IRA in cash, it will be in instruments that one way or another have fees. Stock will have trading fees as will ETFs, bonds and mutual finds. If you invest in managed products (mutual funds are the most common, but ETFs also fit) there will be management fees.

The second group of fees vary with location and with the total investment at a specific brokerage firm.

There are people who think any fee is bad and any place with lower fees is better. I think that approach is silly. Very few of us would want the lowest priced medical treatment - if we did there would not be a problem with medical insurance costs rising.

That said, it is wise to check into the various fees and charges. It takes some time and effort. But you will be paid well over a hundred dollars per hour for your time. The time investment is not an annual deal only once when you pick brokerage firms - compare fees.

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