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Money panel

Shuchen Yao: Computer programmer, 50, New Tampa

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 20, 2003

Q. How did you get started investing?

As you age, you find you have some extra money. About 10 years ago, I started reading magazines and asking friends.

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Q. What is your best investment so far?

Stock mutual funds.

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Q. What is your worst investment so far?

WorldCom and Enron. I diversified. I didn't put all my money in one basket. I bought 100 to 200 shares here and 100 to 200 shares there.

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Q. What have you learned about investing that you think other investors should know?

It's very difficult. In 1998-99, the stock market was up, and anybody could buy a stock that went up 20 to 30 percent. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow. The more you read, the more you think you have your own theory why a stock will go up or down. Sometimes it's wishful thinking.

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Q. What do you find the most difficult about investing?

Sometimes you have to say, "Time to cut your losses and leave it." It's not easy. No one is willing to admit they made a mistake and have to start over again. It can totally shatter your confidence.

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Q. How are you invested now?

One-third in CDs, another third in mutual funds and stocks and the rest in retirement 401(k) and Roth IRA.

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Q. Do you have goals for your investments?

The more the better. And when I reach a certain amount, I might think about retiring.

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Q. What is your biggest money concern right now?

College education expense. We have one child, and she wants to go to medical school. Also, when I retire, will Social Security be there?

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