Whether you are just starting your career or are rapidly approaching retirement, you may be looking for the easy way out. Aren't we all? I have two suggestions that can simplify your investment program, recognizing that they don't necessarily take the place of professional investment advice. Then there's a third strategy designed for those who think that it's too late to start investing for retirement and that they don't have enough money to get started.

These one-step strategies will work for you—if you don't give up on the stock market. That's a big "if" when you've seen the market collapse. It's tempting to lose your trust in the future. But that's what planning is all about—a belief that you can make some basic decisions today that will make tomorrow better. As I've said throughout this book, the stock market reflects the future of our American free enterprise system, which has created a better standard of living for more people than any system on earth. Don't bet against America—or the stock market that represents our economy.

The first strategy simplifies stock market investments. You just buy the "whole market." That's easy these days, since the advent of mutual funds that were designed for this purpose. The second strategy solves the problem of diversifying your retirement investments and reallocating your assets as you approach your retirement date. There are funds that will do the job for you. The third strategy lets you start a ...

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