Sure, it's fun to trade individual stock tips and track their daily fluctuations. But it's truly Foolish to look beyond individual stock performance, and focus on constructing market-beating toolboxes. Metaphorically, portfolios are like a box of unique gadgets: Every investment is a useful tool designed to help us get our desired returns. Tricking out our tool belts with stocks hanging on our tool belts limits our ability to tackle uncooperative markets. It's tough enough to beat the market; why not fill your box with the kind of gear that can keep your profits humming?

Investors can do so by showing some love to both exchange-traded funds and options.

ETFs trade like stocks, yet are able to provide access to either broad or narrow exposures to specific industries, sectors, or investment strategies. See inflation around the corner? The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) is a popular choice for you to consider, then. Think gold prices are too high? Consider a total commodity ETF like iShares GSCI Commodity Indexed Trust (NYSE: GSG)? Have a very specific diversification or hedging fix? Don't worry, there's an ETF for that.

While options can appear to be scary at first, they're probably one of the most neglected and underused tools for many dedicated, yet cautious investors. Indeed, options should be approached thoughtfully, but a blanket rejection of their usefulness can be a huge, missed opportunity. Watch the video here: