Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 3
So you think 3D Systems is a sleeper? Welcome to The Motley Fool, Thadeus! Of course your post will get read. It is never to late to start living life, but that begs the question of what you've been doing for the first 47 years!

As for TD Ameritrade, I have been a customer since they bought out Scottrade and I have never used Think or Swim. As a long term (3-5 years or longer) buy-and-hold investor, the basic website works just fine for me. All the fancy stuff is designed to get you to trade more and that's not the Foolish way. And trust me, your post was a short story compared to this response.

The first thing I would like to suggest is that if your employer offers a 401k and a matching contribution, you be sure to set up your paycheck for an automatic deduction that will maximize the free money available to you.

The next thing I'd do is establish an Emergency Fund, valued at 3-6 months living expenses, depending on how secure you feel in your job. The eFund is to replace income should you suddenly and unexpectedly find yourself in between career options. You cannot count on severance and unemployment insurance benefits - you need to provide for your own protection to give you the flexibility to find the right next job.

After that, I would open a Roth IRA for both you and DW (if you have one) as the place to put up to $6000 each, hopefully each year. The contributions are not tax deductible, but you're at just the of your earnings potential and likely in a lower tax bracket than you will be in the future. You'll be grateful decades down the road when you can draw on these savings tax free and in the meantime, if you find yourself needing emergency cash, you can withdraw the amount of your original contributions (but not earnings) without penalty.

The biggest friend you have as an investor is time - the longer you have to invest, the more your investments can grow. In the short term, an investment is subject to market swings. Long term investments have the freedom to ride out downturns and rise above the market.

So the younger you are, the more time you have, the more aggressive you can afford to be. In your middle years, you have more financial responsibilities, and you should moderate your portfolio to a balance of aggressive and conservative investments. As you near retirement, your time range narrows and a mostly conservative approach is more important, focused. And once you are in retirement, capital preservation of retirement income is crucial.

If you haven't already, I recommend reading the 13 Steps To Investing Foolishly over at Fool School:

There's also a 13 Steps to Retiring Foolishly here:

As to what to invest in, I might consider an ETF rather than a mutual fund, and if you haven't looked at Vanguard or some other low-cost discount brokerage, you should. You can find a page comparing a number of Discount Brokers here:

There's also a page on how to size up a broker here:

And there's a discussion board where you can talk with other Fools about the brokers in which you are interested:

So how do you figure out what the right allocation is? Here are a couple of articles:

Here's are Fool School pages on Mutual Funds and ETFs:

There is also a discussion board specifically for Investing Beginners to learn from more experienced Fools:

If you are interested in jumping right into investing in companies directly, you may want to check out a subscription to TMF's flagship Stock Advisor service, in which TMF founding brothers Tom and David Gardner recommend a new company each month, along with 10 other past recommendations they feel are the best opportunities of the moment. Just visit to sign up!

Who is throwing a lot of information at you but hopes you will take the time to do the homework, develop your own individual investment strategy and then execute and share your experiences with your fellow Fools here on the TMF Community...

Premium Home Fool: Ask me a Foolish Question, I'll give you a Foolish Response!
Ticker Guide: The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Intuit (INTU), Live Nation (LYV), CME Group (CME), MongoDB (MDB), Trip Advisor (TRIP), Vivendi SA (VIVHY), Mimecast (MIME), Hain Celestial (HAIN), Royce Micro Capital Trust (RMT)
Disclaimer: This post is non-professional and should not be construed as direct, individual or accurate advice
Disassociation: The views and statements of this post are Fuskie's and are not intended to represent those of The Motley Fool or any other sane body
Disclosure: May own shares of some, many or all of the companies mentioned in this post (
Fool Code of Conduct:
Invitation: You are invited to interactively watch Motley Fool Live online television:
Call to Action: If you like this or any other post, Rec it. Better yet, reply to it. Even better, start your own thread. This is YOUR TMF Community!
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.