These are the only two options I will consider at this point, since I was in a very indecisive state, but have managed to narrow it down to these two. It seems that mostly everybody is recommending either Fidelity or Vanguard.
I am a college student who will earn some "official income" money during the spring, but not a lot (very minimal part-time job). I also have about $500~$1000 that I received from relatives and saved up over the years.
As for utilities, emergency fund, transportation, etc, my parents and supportive extended family (we are from a culture where there is no such thing as personal business :D) are saying JUST GO AND START INVESTING YOUR MONEY and do not worry about the other issues. Just focus on excelling at school and start investing NOW for the long-term future; you will need it!
As for a little bit of background of my future plans, I plan on going to get a PhD right after graduating from college, and hope to continue in academia if I can (to become a professor). Thus, at least until my PhD is done, it's likely that I won't be making any money, or very little (I will try but I don't want to be too optimistic when taking things into account)...
With these goals and future plans in mind, does anyone know which is better for someone in my situation, between Vanguard and Fidelity? A lot of people have been suggesting me to just invest in an ETF for now although I don't really know how it works. I just need to know which of the two, Vanguard or Fidelity, is the most optimal decision (for someone living in Texas) who's in my shoes, and also why?
[EDIT]-> Or possibly a mutual fund instead of ETF... I don't know, I'm so confused..... :(