And quite frankly, when I started this blog, I had no clue, either. Today, I have half a clue, which is still a half-clue short of where I need to be. The 401(k) and IRA have forced us to become investors, and few of us have the skills to do it. I have stumbled along - like the author of the Marketwatch article, making expensive mistakes along the way. By the time I am dead, I will have it all figured out - by then it will be too late to use this knowledge.
Some places charged me $20 a trade to buy stocks, which dropped to $9.99, then $7.99 and today, free, at least with Merrill Edge. Free trades makes it possible to create your own "mutual fund" of stocks, with few fees. Note that if you buy some mutual funds through Merrill, there are some fees involved, if the funds are managed by another company (Fidelity, Vanguard).
Also, ask direct an honest questions of the adviser as to how he's being paid for this. Most will give you elusive answers - I've never gotten a straight answer myself - but if you push the matter they should tell you. Walk away from someone who's deceptive - even the tiniest bit of deception, as we know, is a telltale of what is to come.
And beware of any broker from Madison County, New York - my hometown.
But there are a lot of other financial sites and give you a treasure trove of data, although they are not as sexy and stimulating as he get rich-quick-scheme sites. But then again, that's probably life in general - anything that seems like cotton candy fluff is appealing, but it's probably bad for you. Broccoli and the other hand might make you regular but is really less sexy - unless you covered it with cheese.