No. of Recommendations: 3
The first 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:

http://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/thirteen-steps/index.aspx

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

https://www.fool.com/retirement/index.aspx

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:

https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/buying-stocks/

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

http://www.fool.com/investing/brokerage/10-ways-to-size-up-a...

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

http://boards.fool.com/discount-brokers-100146.aspx

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

http://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/what-should-i-invest-in.as...
http://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/a-quick-guide-to-asset-all...
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/05/061505.asp

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

https://www.fool.com/investing/etf/index.aspx
http://www.fool.com/mutualfunds/mutualfunds.htm

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

http://boards.fool.com/investing-beginners-112963.aspx

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 https://stockadvisor.fool.com to sign up!

Fuskie
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...

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Disclaimer: This post is non-professional and should not be construed as direct, individual or accurate advice
Disclosure: May own shares of some, many or all of the companies mentioned in this post (tinyurl.com/FuskieDisclosure)
Fool Code of Conduct: https://www.fool.com/legal/the-motley-fools-rules.aspx#Condu...
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