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Thanks to everyone for their advice. To answer JB's questions:

1) My first goal is to set up an emergency fund. I'm leaning toward placing what cash I do have saved into the ING 3.15% savings account. So far, this seems like the best option.

2) I consolidated my student loans in time to take advantage of the low interest rate. This is a monthly payment I can't shake off since I don't have the means to pay it off. I assume it would be best to factor the cost into my monthly budget and then invest accordingly. And I have no credit card debt.

3) My motivation for this is to save for retirement (waaay down the road) and to also create some wealth in order to have a more flexible lifestyle in the future (i.e. traveling, etc.). I'm an editor at a magazine so my salares won't be skyrocketing anytime soon.

Taking investment risks won't be so bad as long as I adhere to a plan.
It'll take some time to wade through the muck and find how I want to invest, but every piece of advice helps.
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