The Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund ( VTSMX), for example, invests in stocks that mimic the entirety of the U.S. stock market and has an annualized total growth of 10.74%. T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund ( RRFDX) is another strong performer.

Learn about other quality stock mutual funds by visiting Morningstar, an independent rating service for mutual funds, or TheStreet.com Ratings.

Once you find a fund you want to invest in, you can usually fill out the paperwork online and mail the company a check.

On a day-to-day basis, mutual funds, like the stock market, can fluctuate, so plan on sticking it out for the long haul to see your money grow. In 10 years, your $5,000 has a good chance of more than doubling to $12,000 with a mutual fund that grows annually at 9%.
Shivani Vora is a New York City-based writer who writes for over a dozen publications on lifestyle trends, travel, food, health, culture and business.

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