We have hit a time where in the history of mankind, if you can read this post, you can live as well as John D. Rockefeller did during the best of his lifetime. He couldn't eat more than you, you have access to a better heating and air conditioning system than he did, and you have access to more and better entertainment than he did.
Now, you do not need to be an American citizen to play this game. No, you can live in South Africa or Toronto or the Garden of England, Kent and still be a player. In fact, you should be.
In the year 2000, a lot of people owned a very few stocks, and were surprised, and held on way too long to these few stocks, and watched them go to tiny values from very large values. A lot of people lost a lot of money. People were devastated. What makes this activity called investing so hard? It's not that hard. The people who worked at Google were provided with the best investment advice possible before their stock was sold to the public.
You can find all of this repeated again in the AARP the group for people over 50. My wife belongs, she's the grown up. Here's the deal. Take the American economy. Why? Because it's the largest. Does it have to be the American economy? No, but it's what everyone uses so it's the statistical base. You can also use Japan, the second largest economy. Buy 25% of the index of the small capitalization companies in the economy, buy 25% of the largest capitalization companies in the economy, buy 25% of the rest of the world index (called the EAFE the returns from investing in the European, Australasian and Far Eastern markets, as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index), and buy 25% of the total bond market of the economy.
Here's the deal. You now own three well diversified indexes that are uncorrelated. When one index is doing well, the others may or may not be doing well. They are not dependent on each other. After a year (let's not be obsessive about this, if it's not in a tax advantaged account, you can wait the extra day if you want) rebalance the accounts to the original percentages. Congratulations. You have just taken some profits, and added to some cheap positions. When people ask what you did, simply say, "I buy low, and sell high."
You can start with small amounts of money and use something called exchanged traded funds from people like Ishares, and others. If you want to use mutual funds, you will need a minimum of approximately $3000 per fund. You should look at Fund Families such as Fidelity, Vanguard or T. Rowe Price. Want to do this with Japan? The symbol for the Japanese Blue Chips are EWJ and those little companies can be bought in the security JOF. I'd have to research Japanese bonds.
Now that you see how easy it is, none of you have to end up like the bulk of the Baby Boomers, where less than 5% have saved $50,000 to retire on and yet we're statistically going to live into our 80's.