Market Slide Forces Rookie Traders to Grow Up Fast

Lucas Daignault likes to glance at his E*Trade account before school or after his shifts at the supermarket. More days than not lately, it shows a sea of red.

Mr. Daignault, who just turned 18 years old, is mostly invested in a fund that tracks the S&P 500. The index is off to its worst start to a year in more than five decades, but he tries not to dwell on it. His strategy is to put about $500 a month into his brokerage account, and he has no plans to stop.

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