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AceintheHole17 (aka Amber),

You wrote, Like Diane I am new and looking to learn. I prefer to learn by doing while I continue saving to have more opportunity to buy into the market. I'm curious what your thoughts are about microinvesting as a tool for learning? Of course I get that small investments equal small rewards but I want to practice theory and research application, following my instincts, and training myself to be okay with losses. Thoughts?

Welcome to The Motley Fool.

Most people should simply put their long-term savings / investments into a target date fund. Given your age, something like a Target Date 2050 fund would probably be appropriate. For instance, take a look at this one: https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/management?FundId=069...

That fund takes all the guess work out of picking stocks and choosing an asset allocation. You can also buy into it as funds become available without worrying about transaction costs. That fund is currently 90% into US and broad international equities. The other 10% is in cash, US and international bonds. The fund will adjust its mix over time. By 2050 it will become more conservative with a roughly 50/50 mix.

If you think that's too conservative or too aggressive for you, we can discuss ways to adjust the risks you are taking...

Finally, btw since you wondered about Diane I am 38, employed FT, and don't need investments for income. I just recently got my MBA and after finishing I found I miss learning and being challenged so I downloaded a few microinvesting apps (Stash, Robinhood, and Acorns).

A lot of people that want to get into investing and creating a portfolio mistakenly confuse this objective with picking stocks and the need to pick a broker that enables this. It's just simply not necessary to pick individual stocks to invest successfully. A brokerage account can be useful as your sophistication increases. But if you are just starting out, start by buying low-cost mutual funds - preferably low-cost index funds or a target-date or strategy fund that invests in a pool of such funds. It's simple and disciplined and much more likely to make you money over the long-term … while trying to learn how to pick stocks is more likely playing craps - especially if you are new to it.

- Joel
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