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Some thoughts for Steve and Addie, who started this thread. You've already heard the advice I'd give from others. Many of us were in your shoes a year or two ago. I started by rolling a good chunk of my 401(k) dollars into an outside IRA where an financial counselor put them into some mutual funds. My goal had been to diversify out of my company's stock, where so much was tied up while it was in the 401(k). So what happened? The company stock, which had been moribund, took off on a several year vertical climb; the money I'd rolled over into an IRA sat there........

Two years into that adventure I picked up The Motley Fool Investment Guide, started timidly, cautiously trying out the Foolish 4 strategy. Bought another stock because I knew it was doing well, had heard a lot about it (CSCO)..... then another. Started reading about the small cap market, looked into the Foolish 8 screen of small caps and rejected most but bought one of those small caps after very careful research. That was POWI. In one year it has quintupled in value. I'll credit beginner's luck.

This is now about two years since reading TMFIG. 10 months ago I rolled that IRA out of the financial counselor's control into my own. I invested the funds in a few stocks I'd read about here in the TMF Workshop screens and strategies, again researching them to make sure I was comfortable........ that IRA has grown in those ten months by about 98% (i.e., it has nearly doubled)........

Not everything has gone up; a few companies I picked have done little or nothing (PSFT, for example, which I bought more of thinking it was more risk-free than some of the small caps -- which is one way I've learned that there are different kinds of risk.......)

All of which is to say, start slowly, read a LOT.... and really try to understand that not all risk is bad. Small caps are inherently more volatile than large caps, but they're not all bad investments, not by a long shot. Pick carefully, don't do anything you aren't comfortable with.

Investing is an adventure; adventures sometimes expose you to danger, but overall I think you'll find it to be very satisfying journey.

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