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I am new to investing and not sure where I should start and whom to trust. Whom do you trust for financial information? Where do you look? Do you read certain financial blogs?

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You need to understand how various entities make their money. Once you know that, you can determine whether their interests are aligned with yours.

For example, a full-service broker makes money when you buy and sell stocks. They therefore have in interest in you doing lots of buying, and selling, not in making you money. Or, no-fee financial advisors make their money through commissions on what they sell you, which means their interests are served by selling you those investments with high commissions, not the investments that would serve you best.

Financial media makes their money through attracting viewers/readers and selling advertising. That is their business, and they are not in the business of giving good advice. There are lots of good investments - index funds are a great example - that don't get much attention because there isn't any money in them.

In fact, the majority of "wall street" is not aligned with your interests, so be skeptical of the financial industry in general.

There are "for fee" financial advisors who you pay directly; their interests are fairly well aligned with yours.

There is a fair amount of good information at The Motley Fool

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Nothing beats statistics like that found on Morning Star, Yahoo or Google Finance. When you are starting out, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Pick a couple of mutual funds with good track records and start there.

Keep in mind the financial press, to some degree, has a vested interest in having their readership chase the next hot thing. So while sites like Seeking Alpha, Kiplingers, or Money do provide some good advice, there is also an element that placates their advertisers.

The only peer-to-peer lending I would consider is Lending Club. However, you are probably better off in the long run investing in mutual funds.

One way to get involved in individual stocks without getting burned is to participate in Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs). Companies that have them tend to be very well established, and they are structured to discourage trading. Buying is easy, dividend reinvestment is easy, dividend payouts are easy; but, starting and selling is kind of a pain. That is a good thing.

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    I have to issue a warning here: The companies which provide the statistics are allowed to advertise them as "The information you want!", but not "The information you need!" -- because it's impossible to prove that the stats will actually do you any good at all. Past results are not a guarantee of future performance, as they will take care to remind you. But I strongly agree that mutual funds are the way to go unless you want to make this your profession, and you should generally pick the ones with low fees (index funds and similar) since fees can take a large bite out of your returns. – keshlam Jul 21 '14 at 20:48

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