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I'm not advocating to blindly place your cash anywhere! I'm assuming that Mr. UPenn Student is smart enough to analyze data and make informed decisions.

My statement is simply at age 20, with no kids, immediate loans, etc. and with only $3000, Roderick should aim toward "trial and error/success" and less toward turning that $3,000 into $300,000.

Put some $ in an individual stock, put some $ in a mutual fund, save some hard cash for a nice gift to your folks, etc. If you double the $3000 in a year, great! If you lose 50%, learn from it! Point is at your age in your situation, you have the opportunity to take high risk and more importantly, see and learn from the outcome. When you're older with a family, you'll still have the opportunity to take high risk, but you may not have the second chance to learn from the outcome.

and of course, do listen to the smart people above me.
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