As Dow Jones, S&P 500 enter record territory, some prepare to become first-time investors

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- As the stock market entered record territory on Monday, some South Florida residents said the promise of long-term financial security could turn them into first-time investors.

"I've thought about investing but that is about as far as it ever went," Ashley Prince, a West Palm Beach resident said. "When you hear that it is the biggest ever, it just makes you feel, "Oh, wow."

Prince and others were said they were swayed after the Dow Jones industrial average crossed 16,000 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index crossed 1,800 -- a record.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are on track for their best year in a decade and have soared more than 140 percent since hitting lows during the Great Recession more than four years ago.

So far this year, the Dow and the S&P 500 have risen for six straight weeks.

Economists credited an improved economy, bigger profits for corporations and low interest rates for the gains.

Prince, who recently graduated college, said the record highs inspired optimism.

"To be able to retire early would be great," Prince said. "It is a huge incentive for me [to invest]. If I had actually signed up when I thought about signing up, I might have been able to cash in on some of that."

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