If you'd rather not find out, there's a chicken way to be gutsy: Enroll in an automatic investing program through a mutual fund or a brokerage. You have to be brave only once - when you sign up - and after that the machinery takes over, steadily investing a few hundred or thousand at a time. Setting up the plan is a matter of a phone call or a few clicks on your financial institution's Web site.
One caveat: The commissions on stocks or exchange-traded funds will eat up small investments, so stick with no-load mutual funds like T. Rowe Price Blue-Chip Growth (800-638-5660, troweprice.com). This Money 70 fund will let you tiptoe into battered blue chips in increments of as little as $50 a month.
NEXT: Rebalance your portfolio