Don't panic or give up. There's no semester final tomorrow, and no one is expected to learn most of the beginning basics in half an hour, or even a day or a week. (But it is wise not to put any significant--whatever that means to you & budget & goals--money in any investment until you have an idea as to what your choices are, and understand that it may go up or down or do nothing for months or a year.) Step One: look at your budget, obligations,emergency fund, bills, reliability of current income,savings, and any major upcoming expenses in next 1-10 years. Step two: decide how much you are comfortable with saving for investment. Step three: keep reading and learning, keeping in mind whether or not you are eligible for a 401k or 403 at work, SEP, pension, IRA, or Roth IRA--i.e., what savings for retirement choices are currently available to you. Step Four: what are the costs and safety/risk factors: FDIC insured, brokerage commissions & charges, mutual fund fees and charges, buying Savings Bonds, Treasury Bonds, muni bonds, DRIPS or direct purchase stocks, tax consequences, etc. Find anything you are comfortable with/interested in/intrigued by? Find out more....it's sort of like shopping for a car. You don't buy a volkswagen if you need to haul hay, you don't need to buy from the first person you talk to, if you're watching your budget then you want to know if a specific vehicle will make your insurance & registration go up, and you might consider maintenance, expected life, and possible resale value...the Jaguar may look & ride great, but do you want to pay the price?
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