When I first started earning money it was 2000, I was in India. I straight away jumped for direct stocks purchases, and within a year I lost half of it. Poor stock-picking coupled with the burst of the dot-com bubble were to blame. But, it taught me what not to do with money when you are a beginner. Since then I have committed many more mistakes, at the same time, I also did things that worked very well.
A few of the mutual funds I bought between 2003 and 2005 got almost tripled their value before I sold them off. I had mentored people towards their first investing since then, A little disclaimer, I am not a financial expert and even I don’t take my advice for granted, always consult with someone you trust before taking any of the steps I mentioned below.