my original plan upon selling my house had been to put the money in the stock market and grow it. if i had sold it to the first buyers, just before my india trip in december 2007, i would have done just that, and lost my shirt. instead, i sold it in may last year, and, thanks to very good advice from a friend, put it instead into ING bank, earning double the US interest rate. hence, i now have enough to buy land for us in guatemala and build a house on it. keeping the land money aside, i have started cautiously investing the balance. 15K so far, in solid companies with decent expected growth who pay dividends. i expect the market to bounce for a while, but so long as i get a dividend, it's all good. i also speculated a tiny bit, putting $300 combined into GM and Ford at their bottoms. no dividends there, but huge growth potential. i use the screen tool at zachs.com to choose my stocks.