Start with dollar cost averaging
Easing herself into the market, Michelle might invest a set amount of money on a regular schedule. When prices are low, she'd purchase more shares. When prices are high, she'd buy fewer.
Then there's the big surprise
Even if you don't have a lump sum to invest right now, you can hope to get as lucky as Elizabeth Gibson, 54, of New York City. Four years ago, she was on an early morning stroll when she spotted a vividly colored painting that had been left out with the trash. She started to pass on by—but something about the painting compelled her to take it home. “The next day I asked the doorman how long it had been out there, and he said 20 minutes,” she remembers. “And he told me that 20 minutes after I took it, the garbage man came.”
Last May, Gibson learned the painting was a stolen twentieth-century masterpiece by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, worth $1 million. By returning it, Gibson gets more than $15,000. “I want to use some of it while I write a book,” she says, “and if it's a best-seller, then I'll get a face-lift!”
Related: Family-Inheritance Feuds
Want the latest beauty, fashion and lifestyle tips? Click here to sign up for our fabulous weekly newsletter!