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that's a really lovely thoughtful reply--thanks.

your suggestion that i do both is a valid one. i--maybe like you when you first started--have been reading a lot of books, and all the advice is starting to make my head spin a bit. those who suggest indexing often suggest that even the indexes be diversified, so i was looking at three separate montly contributions to three different indexes, and that plus four DRPs, plus my IRA seems like a lot of investments to keep track of. but maybe i just need to suck it up. i would be willing to buy some manila folders if i knew the investments were good ones and worth the time to keep track of.

of the parameters you suggest, the only one that gives me pause is the first one. while i'm very willing to do lots of reading of articles and books and keeping an eye on the media, i know myself better than to think i'm going to have fun looking at P/E ratios and cash flows and yadda yadda. and maybe it isn't responsible to invest in a company you're not willing to do math for.
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