You Ask: What if I want to invest on my own?

I say: Set up a Roth IRA at a discount brokerage or fund company. (You can schedule automatic monthly or quarterly bank transfers.) And stick to low-cost index mutual funds or ETFs, which typically require a smaller minimum investment. (Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and Vanguard offer a number of ETF options that you can buy or sell commission-free.) Always shop for products that give you a diversified portfolio. I'm also a fan of investing in dividend-paying stocks, like the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY); it tracks an index of companies that have increased their payouts every year for at least two decades.

You Ask: I've chosen my investments. Now what?

I say: Review your funds annually, paying close attention to their performance at the three-, five- and ten-year marks. Your statements should show if your portfolio is performing above or below average compared with a similar index. If you can't find this data, check out your fund's website or, where you can see how your investment ranks against others in its category; consider selling any fund that isn't in the top half of its group.

Remember to keep buying shares even through bear markets, when a stock might be tanking. The cheaper the shares, the more you'll be able to purchase. That's critical to building long-term wealth.

Suze Orman's latest book is The Money Class: How to Stand in Your Truth and Create the Future You Deserve (Spiegel & Grau).

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