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I would never trust a broker. I have only used one once, when I first bought a nice zero coupon treasury back when the rates were about 9% and so locked that in until 2011. I consider that to be my conservative bond-type investment which is guaranteed by the federal government that I don't have to think about. The rest of my portfolio I manage myself and consider that a savings in itself.

My mutual funds I purchase on my own direct from no-load mutual companies. I base my decisions of which ones to purchase on Bob Brinker's Marketimer newsletter and the radio program he has on weekends. His advice has helped me to balance my portfolio, making sure I have the percentages in the types of funds that I like and which seem to have a good record. As he doesn't have anything to gain from me personally, I feel his advice is somewhat more unbiased than most and I like the freedom to make my own decisions.

As to the individual stocks that I am now buying, I do my own research on the individual company, their capitalization, their new products in the pipeline, the success of their current production, and whether I feel it would be a company I would be comfortable holding for at least five years. I do not want to risk a lot of money in individual stocks, but am willing to try a few as a way of profiting from my own personal knowledge. I consider a maximum of 4 - 6% of my total portfolio for any one stock holding to be prudent for me in my age range (I am 50).

If I were participating in a 401K or something like that, then a larger percentage would make sense. But as I have no such plan where I work, I like to be safe and plan for a long time horizon.

If I were to use a financial advisor, I would ONLY consider one that was paid by fee only and who did not make any commissions based on my purchases or sales. At this time, I am still very comfortable managing my own money, and I work cheap!

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