Mike Baker: “I plan to begin a small portfolio, I realize long-term is the way to go and that each time I tinker with trades, I must pay a fee. Is it cost effective to buy, say, $1500 in a company and then add to that a little each month?”

It can be. Check out, for example, www.stockpower.com . It puts small shareholders together with big companies that have “direct purchase” and “dividend reinvestment plans” (DRIPs). You can buy shares in BP Amoco, for example, with as little as a $250 initial investment and then in $50 increments — with no fees to buy whatsoever, and only a modest fee to sell.

Lisa B: “1. My husband and I are interested in finding a mutual fund that contains Tiffany’s – can you give us some direction?”

This is a very strange way to choose a mutual fund. Why not just choose an index fund and buy a few shares of TIF directly?

“2. We are also looking for a financial planner — any suggestions on how to go about finding one in our area?”

I don’t know what area you live in, but I do know you could save money and perhaps avoid being sold stuff you don’t need by “taking control” yourself. Go to the library and read (or make my day by buying) The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need.

Going around the Net: “Only in America do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people are offered cigarettes at the front.”


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