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I cannot give individual advice and there's no one-size-fits-all approach either. The question you need to ask yourself is whether you feel the stock/bond balanced funds in which you are currently invested have greater potential than Income Investor recommendations, or if you think you could do better with II. If you feel the latter, and I am guessing you do since you're here, then the question is do you want to go All In, dip your toe into Foolish waters, or find something in between.

One idea is to take some of your existing funds, maybe a quarter or a third, and use that to get started. Ideally, you can contribute additional cash funds on a monthly or quarterly basis. It really depends on your personal situation. You can always convert more of your other investments to Foolish recommendations as you become more comfortable and more confident.

I would recommend you make a commitment to yourself to invest for the long term, to buy and hold and not give in to temptation to sell in and out of positions as a trader might. Some of the worst decisions new members make is to second-guess their decisions, to put their companies on too short of a leash and bail out of an investment before giving it time to realize its potential. This is especially important with dividend-paying companies that only pay out on a quarterly, semi-annually or annual basis.

While you may want to jump into the deep end of the equity pool, it may be more Foolish to start with just 5 companies and about 10% of the value of your mutual funds. That comes out to about 2% per company, though you should keep in mind the 2% rule, which unofficially guides that the cost of a transaction should be no more than 2% of the value of the transaction. So if you have $5 trade fees such as at Fidelity, your minimum investment amount would be $250.

In terms of what you should buy, many Fools advise with starting with what you know. TMF's CAPs is also a great resource for finding companies in which the Foolish Community has high conviction. Any company that is an active recommendation on either Tom or David's side of the scorecard is considered a good buy at the present time. If you are a member of one of the premium subscription services, check out companies on both the Best Buy Now and Starter/Core Stock lists, followed by other Best Buy Now recommendations and then the remaining Starter/Core companies.

Lastly, don't be afraid to fail. But make sure it's for the right reasons. Just because a stock price goes down doesn't mean the company is in trouble. Netflix dropped by 50% in market value after the company attempted to raise subscription prices in 2011, but has since grown by some 2500% since then. Not every company will be a Netflix - perhaps not even Netflix could repeat that performance - but the right companies have the potential to be.

Who encourages you to take advantage of the discussion boards and become an active member of the TMF Community as you continue on your journey...

Ticker Guide for The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Orbital ATK (OA), Titan International (TWI), Intuit (INTU), Time Warner (TWX)
Disclaimer: This post is non-professional and should not be construed as direct, individual or accurate advice
Disclosure: May own shares of some, many or all of the companies mentioned in this post (
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