Originally Posted by tegandje
There are better ways to learn the market than to plop down that kind of cash. There are SO many tools available that this should not be something you do on a whim.
Index + ETFs
Saving money up front is a guaranteed way to maximize your returns.
Find a CFP in your area and talk with them and see what they can do for you. They might even shoot the shit with you and give you a half decent forecast.
25 years of strong investments is all you need to worry about. You can stagger and do whatever the fuck you want, but 25 years of good, strong investing, should be enough to keep you warm. Hell, you don't even have to be smart to soak up enough to keep you breathing. This is usually not the advice one normally receives, but it works.
You might look into ways you can make your money work for you in a less passive manner in your community. You might not get alot of money, but you might get a smile, a pat on the back and a free coffee.
I wasn't suggesting he buys $5k in stocks today
just to learn but he could have $5k ready for purchasing stocks and start to watch the market now. After he learns a little and feels ready to make a purchase, buys what he wants and watches the results.
I haven't read any books but I suggest checking out http://www.google.com/finance
to watch stocks and stock related news. Good luck!