No. of Recommendations: 3
i'm feeling kind of ambivalent about whether to drip the money into a few stocks

Your trepidation is normal and proper. This is something we all go through, and in the end, you may well decide that DRiPs are not for you, and that an Index Fund would be a better vehicle.

many articles i've read bashing managers of actively-managed mutual funds for attempting to do the same thing, beat the index. and it appears that few of them can. will i really be different?

Beating the Index is not something that is easy, but you have many advantages over a fund manager. I won't go over all of the advantages, but I'll mention a couple.

For one, you don't have to report your progress to anyone on a quarterly basis. If you had that pressure, you might have to do some odd things to make things look better than they actually are. Eventually, these things will catch up with you. You have the luxury of taking the long view, which really runs in your advantage.

Also, you don't have people forcing you to sell. A fund manager may have things where they want, but if enough people want their money, then you'll have to sell some things that you wouldn't have sold otherwise. This (and the above) are a couple of reasons why turnover is so high.

There are at least half a dozen other advantages I could mention, but I think that you get the point. Don't compare yourself to the 85% of equity fund managers not able to be as good as average, since they have things going against them tat you don't.

I would suggest that an Index Fund (I like Vanguard's funds - very low fees) is a great place for you to start. If/when you feel comfortable selecting a company/ies for individual purchase, you can then put a couple of toes in the water. If that time never comes, you should still end up just fine if you get rid of your debts and put your money to good use.

Cheers-

george
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