"Average Joe" would be a more appropriate avatar but that name is already used. I am a conservative and much of what I comment on is just political ranting. However, politics plays a huge role in the ups and downs of the economy so I think it is appropriate - maybe just in a different venue. Half of my investments are under an "advisor" and half self directed. I have seemed to lose just as much as the advisors in down-turns but have outperformed them on the way up. I am still employed by an aerospace company and have been fortunate in working with both Airbus and Boeing engineering. I have not had formal financial training - just a lot of hopes for the future. My greatest hope at this time is that our government does not ruin the future for all of us "average Joes".