"I have a 401k. How much interest does that earn?" Another one is: "My broker doesn't charge me anything. She gets her money from the mutual fund company. Besides, she has been my friend for years." Or, how about this one. "He told me I would make 20 percent the first year. Can a broker make a promise like that?"

Hearing investment questions and comments such as these over the years has made me cringe enough to start 'Bout Your Bucks. This is a series for learning to take control of your investments. After all, it's your money.

As we step out on this journey to you being your own investment adviser, we will talk about 401(k)s, mutual funds, commissions and charges, and much, much more. Did you know that any guarantee as to the performance of a security is illegal? Through the weeks to come, we will talk about the investments that are there for you. Soak it in. This column could save you money.

I am a former stockbroker who fell in love with the idea of discount firms. Simply stated, I am giving you the benefit of my experience and will teach you how to negotiate the maze of the investment world.

This column is about your money and the system. You might think the system can trip you up. Don't be afraid. It is not all that complicated. As we go along, I will explain the procedures for striking out on the path to wealth preservation and owning your informed decisions.

Who knows better than you the money you have to invest? Who is better to establish your goals than you? Who is better informed as to where to put your cash? You are. Fear not. Stick your toe in the water. We will take this one step at a time and before you know it, you will be a pro. No kidding.

Let me tell you what this column will not do. No recommendations will be made as to a particular firm. No trade names will be bandied about. No securities will be recommended by name, and no names of any individuals will appear in this column. However, the DOW, NASDAQ and other markets will be mentioned.

What this column will do is discuss the way things work. This column will show you how to dig up the info on those funds, bonds or stocks that interest you. It will give you a heads up as to all those fees and commissions you were being charged and how to avoid them.

 Let the race begin and don't be afraid of the hurdles. Welcome to 'Bout Your Bucks'.


Jon Langione is an Oro Valley resident. Plans are to publish his column twice per month.


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