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This is an old story that has happened to many, but also happened to me. My grandmother, a canny old thing, gave me some shares. One of my father's colleagues urged me to sell them and buy a selection of his hot picks.

The outcome was inevitable. The pounds 3,000 I received from selling my grandmother's financial blue chip shares has now dwindled to pounds 1,200 over the space of four years in a variety of fly-by-night companies. The original shares have gone on to outpace the booming stockmarket over the same period.

NT, Norwich

The Fool comments: At a Foolish book-signing a woman came up and excitedly told us that her father, now in his eighties, was a Foolish investor and always had been. Out of nothing more than his Royal Air Force salary he had always saved as much as he could and bought and held blue-chip British companies, choosing not to take the advice of stockbrokers at any time. By retirement he was a millionaire.