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The best advice any of us can ever give you is: do not invest for entertainment value or to prove how smart you are or because some one tempts you to prove how smart you are. Lots of folks out there playing smart guys who think investing is fun or a macho trip for suckers.

You can get average returns on the US Stock Market with a Total Stock Market Index Fund from Vanguard or Fidelity for extremely low costs. The vast majority of investors who try to beat the average, almost all of whom think they are smarter than all the other smart guys who think they are smart enough to beat the average lose.

My retirement savings is with Vanguard... I agree indexing is the way to go. I posted here a few weeks ago after that article in the WSJ about the market trading sideways, but you folks confirmed my faith in indexing :-)

Only 2 questions:

1) Since this isn't money that is retirement or emergency savings, would that S&P 500 index fund idea still have merit? I'm getting the feeling that if this isn't money that I'll need for a long time for something like retirement in a retirement account, yes, but otherwise, it's a bad idea because of market volatility. If this is correct, then you have little to no use for taxable brokerage accounts (I would think that's your perspective!?!).

2) Am I on the right track with my primitive analysis of bonds and bond funds above? I'm 30, so I agree that I don't need bonds in my portfolio for retirement yet, but I'd like to learn how they work.. anywhere else besides the FAQs that provides a good explanation? Thank you!
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