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So what are the important numbers/fees to look for? What is the best place to open an IRA in your opinion and why? Is there a place that compares all these financial institution in any sort of objective way?

Management fees are a big killer to return, and those fees tend to be lowest at Vanguard.

Would that this were so. I find Vanguard's expenses to be constrictive for new investors. You can purchase their low expense funds but your account maintenance fees take a chunk out every step of the way for at least a couple of years.

I would refer you to Scottrade, where there are no account maintenance fees. Yes, you would have to pay $17 to buy a Vanguard fund, but there are a lot of other funds out there that track indexes and have comparable costs that do not carry transaction fees. If you wish to branch into ETFs or equities, you can do so for only $7 a trade, market or limit.

Who notes that Scottrade is a self-directed discount brokerage but thinks if you stick around Fooldom you will learn how to intelligently direct your retirement investing...
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