No. of Recommendations: 1
It seems that everyone here is in favor of not using a surprise, I am too. And I agree with what has been said. However I'd like to add one point...

Unless you agree to learn all you can, by reading books, posts, newsletters, magazines, etc., plug all of your money into an index fund or two. Even then, I would still recommend learning all you can. Th'aint no such thing as a free lunch, is true.

I would recommend that after you have read somewhat, and are becoming familiar with the terminology (and forgive me if I'm assuming too much - that you have no experience), then I would recommend determining the appropriate asset allocation for you. Stocks & Bonds, Domestic & International, Total Stock Market vs. S&P 500, Large & Small cap and Growth & Value (if so desired), specialty areas - Health Care, Energy, Precious Metals, etc (not recommending this necessarily, just pointing them out). And then, how much for each category?

Again, I'm not suggesting using a broker. To the contrary, I'm completely against it. However, I strongly recommend learning a bit about where you are putting your money. It's your money afterall, not mine, and not your brokers. We here are all faceless, and can only give our opinions.

Good luck - and I hope you have a good time doing this,
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