Paul DeMasi Still recovering from 2000 crash. Have been investing full time in the Markets since 2001 I had a majority my life's nest egg invested with (at the time) one of the largest annuity companies in the U.S. Which is now owned by Prudential. It was in a new block type plan that only allowed 250 investors then was closed to the public. You could insure your initial investment and the insurance could be increased as your investment grew. At an increased premium of course. I opened the account in late 1998. Then the Dot Com bubble burst in early 2000. I implored them to take my money out of the funds they were in and put them in a safer MM fund. After more than 3 very heated phone calls and an already 35 % drop they persuaded me to remain insisting not to worry because of the insurance. Needless to say it got worse. I was told over and over by as many higher ups as I was allowed to speak with, not worry you have your initial investment plus more, insured. The insurance was only collectable if the account showed a loss for at least five years and if I stayed in the fund. Well five years passed and I and the 250 others ( consisting of doctors, lawyers, university professors etc) who were also in this fund put in a claim for our insurance. Two days later the insurance co filed for bankruptcy. None of us got a dime and I ended up with 28% of my original investment. A very expensive lesson learned. I had worked my whole life in the various construction fields and was completely computer illiterate. During a slow patch in "99" my girlfriend showed me how to use her Dell and she also showed me Yahoo Finance. I entered a stock picking contest and came in 7th place. I entered another, not affiliated with Yahoo and came in first place and won a new computer. So, I opened an on line broker account and in about two months turned a lousy $300 bucks into several thousand. This was during the dot com madness and just about every company that said they were involved with the internet went up 30, 40, 70, 500% in days. Sometimes in minutes. I have never used a professional broker or firm again to manage my retirement account.