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What confuses me is that the Vanguard website claims that the min initial IRA purchase is only $1000. I guess Roth IRA min limits are higher?

I rather doubt that. Are you talking about purchasing it directly from Vanguard, or another broker? If the latter, it's likely that your broker is setting a higher minimum than Vanguard. If you're talking about Vanguard, you may want to give them a call and check. That doesn't sound right to me.

If you can buy stocks at a reasonable price, you might want to consider the ETF version of Vanguard's REIT Index Fund, VNQ. It's expense ratio is 1/2 that of the fund's (which sounds better than it is, since both are so low), and there's no minimum investment at all. (Of course, if you pay $20 for a $1000 purchase, that costs 2.0% right there, so that may not be appropriate for you.)

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