No. of Recommendations: 0
Just starting out, I'd recommend using a "Total Market" index fund that includes all developed markets (and all market caps therein). You may have to wait until you have a minimum required balance to buy a fund (often $500-$1000 for an IRA, I think) to buy it.

Once you have one total market index fund, keep adding to it until you have more than enough to buy into four different funds -- large cap, small cap, international and bonds. Once there, you can start considering individual allocations. For example, with $5000 you may decide to allocate $2000 to large caps, $1000 to small caps, international and bonds (just an example, not a specific recommendation). Then as you add to it, you can periodically "rebalance" these allocations to be roughly along the lines of what you think it should be.

When you really start growing the assets (think tens of thousands and up), you have other options, such as additional types of assets (real estate, emerging markets, precious metals, global bonds, micro caps, et cetera) as well as exchange-traded index funds (ETFs)...but DO NOT worry about those yet; those are years (and thousands of dollars) away. You have plenty of time to study and consider your long-term plan, retirement needs and risk tolerance before getting there.

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