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Greetings, Philm65, and welcome. You wrote:

<<Well, I've been living in the Middle East for about a year now as a UK expat. So whilst I don't pay taxes (yeeha..), I also had to stop contributing to my UK pension scheme (legal stuff), hence currently I am just saving spare cash into a deposit account offshore. So I still need to plan for my retirement.

Daunting thought.... "When you retire (55ys?), you will have every chance to live your working life again, but this time in retirement (30yrs?)"

So how do I plan for this? Problem is I just don't trust them big Penion / Financial houses to manage my funds. I was thinking of setting up an offshore scheme, but can I do better myself? I am in the middle of reading Robert Sheard's "The Unemotional Investor". I am seriously considering following the Beating the Dow Principle for long term investments. I have also opened up a brokerage account with Schwab and am trading blue chip stocks.... but all this is still risky when you are planning for your nest egg.

So what does everybody else do? Is there a type of fund I can invest in which is going to give me real returns in the long term, so that if I screw up with my own investments then at least I am saved. I also have 2 kids, I want to put them through school and college. How can I cater for this with my retirement savings scheme?>>

Over the very long term, in the U.S. market history shows stocks will produce the best average annual returns. As a result, they will produce the largest retirement stash. If you don't wish to pick them yourself, then around Fooldom we suggest the use of an S&P 500 Index fund. We can't tell you how much to devote to your retirement fund versus how much to your college fund(s). That's a balancing act you have to work out for yourself. For an idea of what we do do, though, do some reading.

I assume you're new to both Fooldom and to investing. That's great on both counts! You have wandered into a forum that believes you, as an individual, can do far better for yourself than most professional money managers. Provided, that is, you take some time to learn a few basic investment concepts and do some self-examination to see where you fit on the risk tolerance scale. Therefore, why not take some time now -- not later -- to be sure about what you want to do.

Start first by reading The 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly, which you can access from the main, opening screen to The Motley Fool. They will suggest some important things you should consider. As someone not living in this country, they may not apply totally to your situation, but the general tenor certainly will. Then I suggest you toddle over to your local library, discount bookstore, or even here in the Fool Mart, and pick up some easily read, easily understood, inexpensive texts that will thoroughly explain how to invest in stocks using some simple systems that will take but an hour per year of your time (if you're slow) yet produce returns that put the majority of professional money managers to shame. I suggest and commend the following to you: "Beating the Dow" by O'Higgins; "The Dividend Investor" by Petty and Knowles; "The Motley Fool Investment Guide" by the Gardner brothers; "One Up on Wall Street" by Lynch; and "What Works on Wall Street" by O'Shaughnessey. All are well worth their low cost and the small investment in time it takes to read them. Get them and read them. You'll be glad you did.

While you're doing all that, also take some time to explore the various nooks and crannies of Fooldom to see what others are doing and what they're discussing. I also recommend you read my 13 Steps to Foolish Retirement Planning and my Foolish Retirement Plan Primer. Both may be found at , and they will help give you some insight as to what you can do. Again, they won't apply totally to your situation, but they will provide you food for thought.

In the process of all that reading, you'll gain a wealth of knowledge and information that will serve to clarify how you want to approach this very personal issue. Don't be afraid to ask a question anywhere in Fooldom. Folks around here are great about answering questions and clearing up misunderstandings.

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