Since getting interested in the housing market and learning about the broader credit bubble, I've been more interested in the stock market. I'm in a situation like yours Tim- unfortunately not the rent-free part though (insert a Napoleon Dynamite "lucky!" here)
. I've also been stashing everything in CD's and 401k until I'm comfortable that I've learned enough about the market to dive in. ... well, maybe 'dip my toes in' rather than 'dive in'
has taught me a lot, though at times I still struggle with slang terms and abbreviations. Also, it's been very helpful for me to have a 'game' account with fake money that allows me to make mistakes and do some trial-and-error stuff without draining my real bank account. The one I use is set up at , though someone may have a better suggestion. That one allows trading on the short side, which so far has been more 'profitable' for me.