An amateur investor with no economics/financial training. I own 65 stocks, most pay dividends. A few are strictly speculative. One stock paid off my mortgage with a windfall in March 2011. I still owned a few shares until it had another windfall and I gave it to my favorite charity. That was GMCR, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Old enough to retire, but still working - have a job I love, my own business, and I live in Hawaii. Learned a lot from all the mistakes I've made over the years - putting money down on a security and watching what happens has given me a degree in investing 101. Now I learn from reading Seeking Alpha. Portfolio: AAPL, ABDNF, ANZBY, AEP, ALE, APU, AVA, BA, BBL, BCE, BIP, BNS, BP, CMP, CSCO, CVX, DEO, ETE, EXPD, GE, GILD, GSK, HASI, HCN, HE, HTA, HTGC, INTC, JNJ, KMI, KHC, MAIN, MCD, MIC, MMP, MSFT, NS, O, OHI, PAYX, PBCT, PEG, PFE, PLOW, PPL, SE, SEP, SNY, SO, SSEZY, STAG, SUI, T, TCAP, TLSYY, TRGP, TU,UL, V, VIVO, VOD, WBK, WFC, WPTIF, WR, The MLP's are all in a taxable account; the majority of my investments are in self directed IRA accounts in my brokerage. I transferred my traditional IRA, my SEP IRA, and my Roth out of the no load mutual funds they had been in all those years, into my brokerage and set up the self directed IRA's that I run myself. No more annual fees to the mutual fund companies!! I did all this in November 2012, after I had learned a lot from Seeking Alpha writers and commenters, and from my own investing experiences. I was lucky in the timing. My average yield is over 5%.