If your company matches 401K contributions it almost always makes sense to start by getting the max contribution. After that things get more complex. Click here for details about whether you should contribute to a 401K or and IRA.
Indexing vs Individual Stocks
The simplest and – generally – least volatile way to invest is via target date retirement funds and index ETFs. More active investors prefer the control that purchasing individual stocks provides. Find out which is best to achieve your financial goals.