Short and sweet:
I notice on every website there is a 'minimum investment' and also a 'price' or a 'NAV' associated with every index fund. If I wanted to open an index fund like Vangard's S&P 500 index (minimum investment $3000 and price $202) what would I have to pay up front? Do I have to buy shares of the fund? I'm confused about what I would have to do to open one of these funds. Do I "buy" the fund for $202 then have to put in a minimum of $3000 to get started?
How do I manage an index fund? By manage I mean can I put a portion of my pay check into my index funds each month?
I know these are basic questions but no one on the web has any of this information! HELP!