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Hi Amanda,

I'm sorry. I didn't even think about how confusing it can be. I've been reading so much that I find myself abbreviating stuff.

DRE is the ticker symbol for Duke Realty Corporation. It's a REIT which stands for Real Estate Investment Trust. They own properties in several states.

DRIP stands for Dividend Reinvestment Plan. A lot of companies offer them. You take a small amount of money and purchase the stock on a monthly or quarterly basis and the dividends are automatically reinvested to purchase more stock. Check out this article for more information. http://www.fool.com/school/drips.htm?ref=G02C06

If you decide to go with a DRIP, check the fees carefully. Some companies will reinvest it for you at no cost, while others charge. Even a small charge can add up over time. I have one stock that's been charging me 5% every quarter for reinvestment. Because of what I've been reading through MF (Motley Fool), I just realized it and have arranged to start receiving the dividends instead of reinvesting them into this stock. It doesn't cost me anything to get a check and I'll use it to purchase a different stock.

If your new job is with the state, they should have a very good retirement plan. Talk to your Human Resources person. He or she should be able to go over the information with you. Have you had your job orientation yet? Retirement plans are generally discussed during orientation.

I can't tell you what percentage to invest because that's something you have to decide based on what you feel you can afford. Because I'm so much older and have fewer years to invest, I'm putting in 11% plus my company puts in 3%. At first, I really noticed the missing 11%. But since I've received several raises, I don't miss it. Now I'm considering raising it another 2% or 3% when I get my next raise. However, I have a part time evening job which brings in some extra money.

There have been several really good articles about mutual funds. If you type in “mutual funds” into the Search box, it should bring up quite a few articles. Plus there's the Fool's School which is very helpful. I recommend you read these before deciding on a specific fund.

I would concentrate first on a 401K with your new job. It would be better to start with it if you don't have much retirement saved up.

I'm still learning, too. I've made a lot of mistakes with my investing. Read as much as you can and stick with the Fool. You'll be glad you did. I've learned a lot in just the 6 months I've been a member. I still have a lot more to learn.

Talk to you later.

Suzanne

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