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Avoid brokers and financial advisors like the plague. I have never dealt with even one of them who had any interest in doing anything but collecting his/her fee or commission. Period. Their best interests are exactly the opposite of yours, and the really scary part is that they truly believe they are helping you, so the sincerity they exude can be quite high.

Take the time to learn how to invest your own money. One thing I haven't seen in the advice so far is the fact that it is perfectly reasonable to substitute periodic withdrawals from a rising capital amount for dividend or interest payments. In other words if you get 2% dividends and 12% capital gain, you can sell off 4% of your capital to get to 6% income and still be ahead of the game.

In fact there is a double benefit, because the capital gain can be long-term capital gain taxed at a lower rate.

I would seriously consider heading over to the mechanical investing area and thinking about investing a small percentage of your capital fairly agressively. If you put 20% of your capital in a strategy like Keystone and just let it ride for a few years your standard of living will ultimately increase.

I would get a bond ladder going and then look at SPY, QQQ, and something like XLK instead of any mutual funds, even Vanguard index ones.

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