Q: 40, married. With the existence of many direct stock purchase plans, can I just create my own portfolio, and never deal with a stock broker again? I am following the idea that since I cannot control outcome, I should focus on controlling fees, hence buying stocks directly.

I would reevaluate the premise that you cannot control the outcome. Yes, you cannot control the markets… but you can control which markets and which individual companies you invest in.

DRIPs are fine, but I would caution against just buying a small number of stocks for the very long term. Studies show that to be truly diversified, you need at least 20-30 stocks. Individual companies do go bankrupt from time to time. And it can happen very suddenly (see Enron, Lehman Bros, etc).

If you really want to go the passive route, look into index funds. Both Vanguard and iShares ETFs are good options.

Best of luck,


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