The first stock I ever bought was the Siemens semiconductor spin-off Infineon right in the middle of the Dot-com bubble and just shortly after their IPO. Of course I got burned on that one. Haven't touched a stock ever since. Then after my family and I moved from Germany to California in 2011 I started looking into the stock market again and found it quite intriguing. I opened a Roth IRA at Charles Schwab for my wife and one for me and started playing around first with an asset allocation between different bond and stock funds. Soon after I got rid of all that crap and started to buy stocks which provide us with actual income -- cold hard cash. My investing goal is to create a "reliable" income stream to grow our retirement accounts with dividend paying stocks while reinvesting their payouts in order to profit from the compounding interest over time, aka dividend growth investing. For my non-retirement savings I also hold some broad market ETF and the Schwab Dividend ETF mainly due to their low costs and half-decent yields over the regular savings accounts.