juststartinout,I agree about taking the harsh statements with a grain of salt. Like you, I started out rather late -- but I was in my early fifties. I bought at what turned out to be the peak of the 1990s bull market and soon lost (what was then for me) a lot of money. I personally think that it's not so bad to swing for the fences when you are just starting out. You will probably end up losing what seems then -- when you're just starting out -- like a lot of money. But I think that that may be considered as the price of tuition in investing. (On the other hand, if you swing for the fences when you're just starting out, and luckily do very well, then, when your luck turns, you'll probably go on to lose what actually is a lot of money.) As an alternative to the "hard knocks school of investing," where tuition may be expensive, you may wish to keep a paper portfolio, where you invest on paper and keep track of your gains and losses, before you do the real thing.Also, at the beginning, it's important to SAVE money -- to live below your means. Not only does this teach some valuable lessons about getting off on the right foot where wealth is concerned, but it serves to build up a necessary emergency fund ("EF" on this site). In addition, you can use the time to read, read, read, all about investing -- which is more free or low-cost learning as there are many useful sources on the web (for example this very site, as well as http://www.investopedia.com/dictionary/#axzz23ivtm100 and http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_Started and there are classic investment books that may be borrowed from the library, or bought either new or used.culcha
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