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Hi zrobin:

In order of your questions:

Don't know if you missed any lessons, I wasn't there.

LT $ Val Ch stands for Long Term Dollar Value Change. It is the difference between the current value of a single stock, or the total of all stocks in a portfolio and the amount invested in the single stock, or the total invested in all stocks in the portfolio.

I started my son on $2000 divided equally among 4 stocks. Sure it is worth considering smaller sums. You want to follow Pixy's percent allocation, as well as possible. but as you get smaller amounts, minimum investments will reduce the number of stocks you can use. I personally don't like to make smaller investments in one stock than $10,000, and I like to keep my portfolio to about 10 stocks, but that is just my approach and my situation that makes that number right. Yours may be $1000 in any one stock and 10 stocks, or $2000 in one stock and 10 stocks. The number of stocks is more a function of how many stocks you can manage to follow in the time you have to do so.
I don't usually spend more than a few minutes a day with an occasional burst of a few hours when I need to make decisions.

No you don't take any charge and pull out of IRA's. You invest within your IRA, and only take money out when you need it. Then you pay your tax. Hopefully you will be able to take less out than the growth you achieve, still allowing the IRA total portfolio to grow. If not, however you're still ahead.

I've been retired now for 3 years, and I make more money now than I ever did in any year when I was working full time.

Fool On zrobinfool
The Nerdifool
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