Fools were out and about this week in an investing world jampacked with actions and ideas. Here are three articles you might find useful as you decide how to invest your money.

What to Expect From Autos in the Year Ahead
Automakers took investors through a lot of surprising twists and turns last year. Fool contributor John Rosevear advises investors to keep their eyes on the major auto shows in the coming months -- starting with Detroit's North American International Auto Show, which opens Monday -- and also offers some thoughts on what to expect from the automakers in 2011.

John sees less dramatic gains for Ford (NYSE: F) and more noise from Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA). Internationally, John says Toyota (NYSE: TM) will make strides in quality and sales, but he "expect[s] the company to struggle for a while longer, as these changes will be slow to appear."

Read the article for more details on what the auto industry might have in store for investors. And check back at Fool.com next week for insight on what happens at the auto show.

Rising Star Buy: 2 Tech Stocks for 2011
Eric Bleeker scours the tech world as one of The Motley Fool's rising stars. In this free feature, the Fool is "letting some of our most promising, up-and-coming analysts and writers publicly manage real-money portfolios, and we'll take you along for the ride with every move they make."

This week, Eric bought shares of EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) for his "Bits Portfolio," explaining that "just because these companies are each giants of their industries doesn't preclude them from being strong outperformers." Eric notes, for instance, that Qualcomm is benefiting from the boom in connected devices. The scenario was less than assured six months ago, but the success of Apple's iPad has "largely validated the idea," Eric writes.

Check out the article to see whether you agree with Eric's thinking.

The Secret to a Perfect Financial Life
Before you jump into the stock market, consider whether the base of your financial pyramid needs to be strengthened. Two important steps are to get out of debt and build up a cash fund to handle emergencies, says Fool editor and writer Dan Caplinger as he gives readers a sneak peak at the brand-new issue of the Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter.

When you're ready to invest, Dan has four exchange-traded funds that would make a good core for your portfolio, including SPDR Trust (NYSE: SPY), which tracks the S&P 500, and Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock (NYSE: VWO), which tracks stocks in such emerging markets as Brazil, Russia, and China.

See the article to find out the other two recommendations and to learn more about shoring up your financial situation.

Apple and Ford are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool has written puts on Apple and owns shares of Apple, EMC, Qualcomm, and Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

See a stock in this story you'd like to follow? Add it to My Watchlist, which will find all of our Foolish analysis on it.

Fool online editor Kris Eddy owns no shares of any stocks mentioned in this article. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.