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ZIP is why I left the MDP. On the other hand, I just dumped a bunch of cash into a dividend appreciation ETF 2 days ago, and my wife thinks I am a genius!!! What a crap shoot.... There has got to be a better way to make a buck!!

Right! But there isn' least not in the stock market. I've been playing in the Motley Fool sandbox for almost 5 years. I've been "investing" for most of 35. I have a brother who is a stock broker at Morgan Stanley...a broker who is old enough to know better and has some pretty good tools (and experience). I have resolved to make better decisions in the stock market, which requires starting with some core convictions and understandings, and using every tool available (MF, Brother and especially, these boards). I guess I can't enumerate them all in this post (they might put you to sleep), but suffice it to say that the difference between success and failure is a very fine line. I suppose if you want to check out my MF commentary, you will see how I've evolved over time. I've posted a lot to the EBIX and INFN boards lately because I think that's where the best lessons are right now. But realize, they aren't lessons until they play out...there is always an element of looking back in stock picking (see especially the EBIX board). I came to INFN and EBIX through the MF RB service. My experience with everybody's darling ATVI is another fun lesson.

I have some criticisms of the Motley Fool, but I have to grant them the space to do what they do because in the market, there is no sure way, and as previously stated, their track record speaks all that need be said. The problem is, following various MF recs will not necessarily make you succesful. The big improvement was the idea to create model portfolios and them telling you what to do; but you have to have the time, money and conviction to follow...and the considerable amount of money to buy the service (the cost of the service is not your only cost to trade). Then the question is "which service?"

As with this whole project we call "The Market," there are no easy answers. That's lesson #1. I take that back...lesson #1 is that there is a giant pile of lessons, most of which will take most of us a long time to digest...for me, that's most of 35 years.

Hopefully, ZIP is not your only holding, and know that a 19% loss on a single stock is not the worst thing that can (or will) happen to you.

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