Dear WTG: I’m eighteen years old and just got a thousand bucks for my birthday. Now that I’m of legal age I’d like to start playing the stock market. Any advice on how to begin? Signed: READY TO BE RICH
Dear READY: Let me start right off by saying that I’m not a big fan of “playing the stock market.” Those are gambling terms, and the stock market should not be “played” like a casino game. When it comes to stocks, think “investing in companies” rather than “playing the market.” And, the way you invest in stocks is important, too. At your age I would recommend opening a Roth IRA account. And, I would advise funding it with a low-fee mutual fund like the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX). At your age, just let the market grow. And when you retire at age 65 or 70, you will be the beneficiary of a “get rich slow scheme” of investing in companies instead of the unwise “get rich quick scheme” of playing the market.