I just recently caught the investing bug and started taking an active interest in my (presently meager) portfolio in October, 2011. Turns out I'm not too bad at making my own picks, and I really enjoy doing my own research. So far my picks have significantly outperformed those of my high-priced broker (by about 10X). I've only got about 17 years left before I'll have to retire, and I've gotta get a move on if I want to enjoy my Golden Years and not end up having to work as a WalMart greeter on the graveyard shift. Seeking Alpha and The Motley Fool have helped me learn a great deal in a short period of time, but I've got a long way to go. I'm currently focused on building a portfolio of solid, stable dividend growth ... More stocks, with some pure growth (speculative) positions thrown in. At present I have 30 positions that yield an average of 5.3% in dividends. I'm hoping to learn more about options and save enough on the side so I can start playing with trading options; I'm looking forward to actively managing my portfolio in my retirement, and want to get really good at it before then.