Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 20
Version 1.13

Changes and additions:
- Added another article under “Is now a good time…”
- Added link to Money/Quicken duel
- Added question about penny stocks


From now on, I will include the version number you see at the top of this post. I will also preface the subject line of the post with an asterisk ('*') when there are changes from the last post. A subject line without an asterisk indicates that the current post is the same as the previous one. That way those of you in the know can tell without even looking at the content whether there is new information contained here. (An update to the UDFAQCRE link will not constitute a change to this document.)


In the fine tradition of the Unauthorized Dow FAQ and Compendium of Related Effluvia (UDFAQCRE), I humbly present the Unauthorized Ask a Foolish Question FAQ. If it seems helpful, I will post it occasionally. If not, I won't. If you care to drop me an email saying that this was useful to you, that would help me know if I'm wasting my time.

There are a few things you should know to start with.

1) As with the UDFAQCRE, this document contains mostly pointers and little actual information.

2) The Motley Fool has already produced a series of FAQs. Before you post, check the Motley Fool FAQ page ( Some of the answers to questions below will also point you to TMF FAQs.

3) There are message boards for practically everything you want to discuss here. Part of the reason for this FAQ is to redirect some of the AFQ traffic to appropriate places. So, please check around for a message board related to your question before you post here. is the place to start.

4) If you haven't yet read the 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly (, now's the time to do it. It explains the basics of Foolishness.

5) The Motley Fool provides facilities for searching the message boards and the web pages. (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Know what I mean?) Check the top or bottom of just about any page on the site for the word 'Search'.

I'm starting a Fool Four Portfolio and I was wondering...
Hold it right there. The first thing to do is read the one and only, the original Unauthorized Dow FAQ and Compendium of Related Effluvia.

After that, if you still have questions about the Fool 4, RP4 or anything to do with Dow dividend approaches, go to the Dow Investing/Foolish Four message board.

I have this 401(k) and...
TMF has a whole section on 401Ks.
Or you can ask questions on the Foolish 401Ks message board
For IRAs and Roth IRAs you might try our new IRA area
Or the Retirement Investing message board.
Or possibly the Tax Strategies message board.
Or for a good retirement/tax resource see...

I have this stock that has tanked recently. Can anyone tell my why?
For any question about a specific stock, check the stock message boards to see if a message board exists for your stock. (You can do this by typing the ticker symbol in the upper left-hand field on the Motley Fool home page and pressing 'enter'. Then click on the 'Messages' tab.) If a folder exists for your stock, post your question there. If not, you can go here ( to request a message board be opened.

Which discount broker is best?
Every broker seems to have angered at least one person. You'll just have to read the information and use your judgment.

Which is better: Quicken or MS Money?
Again, you're on your own.

Is this a good time to get into the market?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer:

How much do I need to start investing?
For Foolish Four: $4000, maybe a little less.
For DRiPs: $500 + $100/month.
For index funds: $50? Maybe $100.

I only have a little bit of money to invest. How do I get started?
Index funds
DRiP investing
DRiP service providers

Where can I get historical stock quotes?

Could you explain how options work?

What is the Dow Jones index all about?
What is a "point" equal to?
What companies are in the DJIA? (or

How about the S&P?

What's the difference between a limit order and a market order?

What are diluted shares?

What is the difference between 'bid' and 'ask' prices?

How does after hours trading work?

What is the symbol for the Vanguard S&P Index Fund?

I'd like to know how IPOs work.
Can I get in on one?
What's the best way to make money on them?

How do splits work?
Should I buy a stock before or after a split?

What does “curbs in” mean?

What about this penny (OTC) stock that I want to buy?

Why does Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) sell for such a high price? Why don't they split?
The large numbers are simply a result of BRK never declaring a stock split and at the same time achieving a CAGR of more than 30% a year. The reason BRK does not issue splits is that they see them as a purposeless activity. That is, splitting the stock does nothing to enhance value and only serves to make the stock more liquid and subject to manipulation and so forth. These things run counter to management's philosophy, namely that ownership is important and buy and hold works.

If you are interested in getting the straight dope, visit and read the annual reports and letters from the chairman. Even if you don't invest in BRK, you will be educated, amused and enriched by the experience.

Afterwards, pop on over to the BRK message board to talk about it.

And be sure to spend a month reading Simpleinvestor's 101 reasons to own BRK:
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.