I think many gave you good advice. Some encouraging. Some harsh. Regardless of your experience or financial condition, compared to theirs, you are where you are and I believe asked for both information and opinions. Answers such as "you're not ready financially or knowledgeable enough" do not mean that you are not trying to obtain both.1 year ago this month, my wife was given the opportunity to take 1/2 of her 401k and invest it in a self-directed IRA. Her previous choices included bonds, Small, Medium and Large Cap funds (both value and growth), International and Emerging Funds and a tech fund. Also were three composite funds supposedly Conservative, Medium, and Aggressive. In August of 2011, after splitting the two funds in half, the original funds have grown 13.1%; the independent IRA has grown 61.3%. The independent IRA began with a 50% position of AAPL and a very large position of the "Dogs of the Dow" strategy. Currently those holdings would be equal positions of GE, PFE, INTC, T and JPM. Some DoD followers would exclude the GE position. (JPM was not one of the holdings a year ago. The other four have returned between 26-34% in the past year with dividends reinvested). Of course AAPL has been amazing and has returned 65.5% with subsequent investments on pull-backs (The original positions in AAPL from Aug '11 are 82.68% and 69.67%).Many will criticize such a large portion in one stock. But when you are first beginning, what is a large portion compared to the portfolio you will have over time. If you're not going to initially concentrate your holdings into a few individual positions UNTIL YOU GAIN more knowledge and a larger portfolio, what is the purpose of an independent IRA? You could just leave the money in the traditional 401k and get Fund and index choices. I am still a believer in AAPL as a disproportionate amount of a portfolio until it reaches the 750-800 range. The Dogs of the Dow theory is easy, passive and the returns speak for themselves.Although long, I hope this has helped you. It is just one of the thousands of choices you have (just like your independent IRA). A beginning portfolio of $3,000 in each of the Dogs of the Dow stocks and a sizeable portion of AAPL would be an excellent starting point (IMHO).