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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.

The Tricky Thing About 8,000% ReturnsThe tricky thing about McDonald's (NYS: MCD) 8,000% returns is that they took decades to accrue and holding onto the stock over all those years was no simple feat. "What's easily forgotten is how easy it is to lose faith in a business over decades' time (or even less than a year's time, for goodness' sake)," Fool analyst Alyce Lomax wrote. "McDonald's had some rough riding over the decades' road to riches, even a pivotal point when it was difficult to imagine beaten-down McDonald's could ever turn its fortunes around."

Read the article for more about McDonald's and about Alyce's own experiences holding onto shares in Starbucks (NAS: SBUX) , which has been through its own rocky patches. Check back regularly to Fool.com throughout the new year for help in finding the best investments to buy and hold.

What the Great Depression Did That This Recession Won'tHere are a few of the things Fool contributor Morgan Housel found when looking into early indicators of how the recent recession has altered how we manage our money:

  • The personal savings rate jumped in 2009 but has already sagged back to 3.5%.
  • Consumers are getting rid of debt, but they're doing it almost entirely by defaulting on it.
  • Legions of homebuyers are lining up for mortgages with "paper-thin down payments."

Obviously, people haven't been "scared into saving more and borrowing less, as they were after the Great Depression." Why? "Personal bankruptcy during the Great Depression was virtually unheard of; today it's an everyday occurrence," Morgan wrote. "About the same number of people were awarded bachelor degrees last year as filed for personal bankruptcy (1.6 million)."

Read the article and the reader comments on that page to get more Foolish flavor on what's going on in America these days.

6 Dividends With Wide MoatsFool contributor Patrick Martin took a look at six stocks with wide moats protecting the dividend payments they make to investors. Giants Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) , Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) , and PepsiCo (NYS: PEP) make the list. P&G has strong brands and cost advantages that come from its size. Johnson & Johnson also has strong brands as well as pharmaceutical and medical-device patents and a "robust research pipeline," Patrick reported. Pepsi clocks in on Patrick's list with direct-to-store delivery and its Frito-Lay snacks.

Read the article to learn more about how dividend stocks can bulk up your portfolio and to see what Patrick had to say about Diageo, Philip Morris International, and Sysco.

At the time this article was published Fool online editor Kris Eddy owns no shares of any stocks mentioned in this article.The Motley Fool owns shares of PepsiCo, Philip Morris International, Johnson & Johnson, Starbucks, and Diageo.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Sysco, Diageo, PepsiCo, Philip Morris International, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, and Starbucks, as well as creating diagonal call positions in PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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