The time to consider buying stocks is when the market goes down. The time to sell is when the market goes up. Simple. The investment vehicle of choice is the mutual fund. A mutual fund is a basket of securities and you own a pro-rata share of the basket. Note that you do not own the securities. Equity mutual funds are the primary investment vehicle of 401K and IRA accounts. There are about 6000 mutual funds in our country today, and more mutual fund assets outside the US than in the US.