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JAMES WEBSTER, 79, RETIRED, THE VILLAGES

How did you get started in investing?

My father bought me three shares of General Electric when I was a little kid during the Depression. My first investment was really in a house, shortly after I married, in 1962.

What is your best investment?

I bought some shares of Summit Bank in Summit, N.J. I bought 300 shares at about $11 a share. That has now become over 3,000 shares of Bank of America.

What is your worst investment?

Nothing dramatic. Not just one investment. I'm too involved with financial stocks.

What have you learned about investing that you think all investors should know?

Certainly, diversify. It's not just a question of stocks vs. bonds or domestic vs. international. Don't get too heavily involved in one area or another.

How would you describe your approach to investing?

I'm conservative. I don't really subscribe to formulas like 60 percent in bonds, 40 percent in stocks.

What do you find the most difficult about investing?

Selling. When a stock goes up, you think it will keep going up and you don't want to sell it. And when it starts down, you're afraid you'll sell it and it will turn around and go back up.

How are you invested?

About 40 percent stocks and about 48 percent bonds and 12 percent cash or cash equivalent.

What changes have you made in your investments in the past year?

I'm probably moving more toward mutual funds. (It's becoming) more difficult to keep track of individual stocks and bonds.

Do you think now is a good time to invest?

It's always a good time to invest.

What is your goal for your investments?

I'm just trying to keep up.

What is your biggest money concern?

I'm wondering what's going to happen to the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Where do you get your investment tips?

From the newspaper. I have the newsletter from my brokerage. I read the Wall Street Journal a couple of times a week. I go to Yahoo Finance (http://finance.yahoo.com).

Fred W. Wright Jr., Times correspondent

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