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Hyperborea: Follow it with some basic reading like Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wallstreet and William Bernstein's The Intelligent Asset Allocator.

Vlad: And what do these books have to do with the issues outlined in the article?

The books have to do with understanding what they are investing in. Again, if the OP or his girlfriend don't have time to read these and many many more then they don't have the time to be picking individual stocks. I suppose they could do what most individual stock pickers do and do little to no research with little understanding of the market. It sure will save time.

Select a good fund or select a good investment professional to manage your money for you if you don't care to get involved yourself.

And this is an even more difficult task than picking individual stocks. Why do most of them underperform the index? Why is there no continuity of over-performance (i.e. this year's winner is next year's loser)?

$200,000 is enough money to attract a capable money manager

If you were going to give him the whole $200,000 for himself them maybe you might get his attention. Investing a portfolio of that amount won't attract anything but a cookie cutter wrap account with a 1% (or more) fee over and above the high load mutual fund fees.

A capable commodity trader can generate returns far superior

The question here is returns for whom? If this is the route the OP is going to go I would instead suggest that they take it to Vegas - the odds are better and they'll get free drinks too.

Just like you talk to a lawyer when you have a legal problem, you should talk to a professional if you are not an expert in this area.

Finally, a reasonable suggestion. If the OP or his girlfriend need more advice then find a good (hard to do) FEE ONLY financial planner who has no stake in any investment product that they recommend to you. Before going though read up as much as you can so you can understand what they are telling you.

BTW, did you read a small piece on Malkiel in a recent Fortune issue where he's backtracked quite a bit from the central theme of his book?

Don't read Fortune or most of the other financial porn - do you have a link? Has he "backed off" since the 2003 update of his classic book? That's a pretty short time frame.

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