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Once that amount builds up high enough, I'd try my hand at stock picking (when time permits, but otherwise use no load, no transaction fee funds).

Forget the stock picking. It's a loser's bet. Instead, pick 3-5 stock index funds and contribute to them on a regular basis throughout your working career. Unless you've got money that you want to protect (as opposed to grow) it's not likely that you need to worry about bonds until your later years. It's also not likely that a bond fund will ever be appropriate for you.

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