What's your investing P.Y.I.Q.? That's "Protect Yourself I.Q." Do you really understand how analysts, brokers, and your own emotions can hinder or help your investing success?

We all need to ask those questions in a week when individual investors were treated to two big tales of woe, told here by David Gardner in "Brokers Lose Investor's Money. Really?", Jeff Fischer in "Yeah, Brokers Lost Investor's Money," and Tom Jacobs in "Merrill Pays Investor $400K." In the first, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter(NYSE: MDW) brokers put a client into risky investments on margin and he lost $700,000. In the second, an investor relied on his Merrill Lynch(NYSE: MER) broker and analyst Henry Blodget's advice, put his entire children's education fund into two risky stocks about which he knew nothing, and lost over $1 million.

We hate to see any instances where individual investors suffer because they did not understand analysts, brokers, or their own readiness to invest in stocks. It's completely avoidable, at the very least by reading and following our basic Motley Fool primer, You Have More Than You Think or even our 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly. Please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, before you buy a share of stock, ever, read them.   

But if your boss might catch you reading a book, we bring you the best of The Motley Fool right here to build your P.Y.I.Q. for fun and profit:    

Next: Are You Ready To Buy Stocks? »

Protect Yourself contains opinions that are those of each Fool only and should in no way be taken as the opinion of either The Motley Fool, Inc. or any company in question, or as representative of anyone or anything other than that specific Fool's thoughts. Review The Motley Fool's disclosure policy.