When I started trying to speed up my retirement account (I started saving very late) I was guided to stocks and told how stupid I was not to have my money there....This was just before the peak of the Dot.com boom.I listened, watched and read everything... CNBC was my window to the world.The Street.com was my home page.Kramer was the guru.I signed up for trial memberships with all the "Well Respected" brokerages in order to read their research and recommendations.Wealthy friends gave me "inside" tips.In other words... I did my homework.I then leveraged (ie: margin) my meager $20,000 life savings, and within a year was up to $80,000.Then the slide began. I kept listening to the "Pro's" and putting good money after bad, and I lost all that I had put in and more.... ending up $80,000 in debt.The sad lesson: The recommendations from the "respected" firms were BS... Hyped to create profits for themselves. As a little guy, I had no recourse... lawsuits simply make money for the attorneys and waste time and hope.With recent guidance from Motley Fool, I have begun a slow and steady climb up and out of the hole. My net liquidity (Debt vs. Cash and Equities, not counting my home) is now about even and climbing steadily. Hidden Gems has been the best help, and staying away from margin and advice from brokerages has kept me on a patient path. I am grateful to these guys for restoring my faith in American business. I had thought the whole system was corrupt but they seem to do a good job hunting for the good guys.Other than starting to save so late, that period was my biggest mistake.
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