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hello meast1,

I can tell you what I tell my friends and family.

1) read Peter Lynch's books,
2) read Warren Buffett's annual letters at,
3) read Ben Graham's books,
4) take a few accounting classes or read a few basic accounting
5) do homework on mutual funds or stocks prior to purchase; most
people want to jump right - which is good and will occur regardless
of when you buy/sell funds/stocks - but put the odds in your favor
by reading,
6) read the "Wall Street Journal" on a daily basis,
7) don't ever use a "buy and hold" a stock; "buy and do your homework"
is the appropriate strategy,
8) go to the library and become - as Dreyfus/Murray said "take baby
steps" - familiar with Value Line for stocks and Morningstar for
9) build up your knowlege by listening to stock's conference calls,
10) become familiar with 10Ks and 10Qs (SEC filings).

If a person isn't willing to do their homework on stock holdings, then I recommend buying a mutual fund.
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