Forget the necktie -- give Dad something he can really use this year. We're serving up plenty of Foolish ideas to help you out.
Dads have excuses for everything. I know, I am one. Examples:
Kids: "Dad, can we go in the front yard?"
Me: "No, Daddy's too tired."
Wife: "Are you coming up to watch the kids?"
Me: "I'm on deadline!"
Kids: "Can we watch SpongeBob?"
Me: "What?!? Are you kidding? Deadliest Catch is on!"
Who you gonna call?
There are just as many excuses for not investing. Here are my favorites, provided in random order and with built-in Foolish excuse-busters:
1. It's too much work. And repairing your sink isn't? If you can do home improvement, you can do your own investing. Wait. That's not quite right. If you can sleep, you can invest on your own. All you need is to regularly invest in a low-cost index fund. You'll get instant exposure to excellent stocks like Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) , Wachovia (NYSE: WB ) , and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) , as well as a lifetime of market-matching returns.
2. There's too much math. Please tell me you didn't just say that. Do you know how to divide? Great. Then you can handle the P/E ratio. Can you calculate batting average? Fine. Then you can also calculate margins. Can you piece together a quarterback rating? You can? Really? Can you teach me?
3. No one beats the market anyway. Don't tell that to Warren Buffett. Or Peter Lynch. Or David and Tom Gardner. Each of them has been beating the market for decades.
4. My broker will take care of me. Suuuuuuuure he will. And Dick Cheney just guest-hosted The Daily Show. Please, get real. Some brokers are terrific, but in most cases, their only incentive is to run up fees by trading stocks in your account.
A simple strategy for your lazy Dad
Listen, fellas, I'm as lazy as you are. I work like you do. And like you, my kids are all over me the minute I'm "home" from the office. I get it. Time is short and the beer in your fridge is cold.
But you know what? It only takes minutes to beat the index. If, that is, you're willing to invest in championship managed funds, such as Oakmark, which is led by superstar stock picker Bill Nygren and which boasts large positions in fast-food junkies McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) and Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM ) .
Finding champs isn't hard, either. Morningstar.com has a screener that will allow you to search for no-load funds that boast cheap expense ratios (1.20% or less) and tenured managers who have a history of market-beating performance. These are the funds to invest with because, if they've delivered in the past, chances are they'll deliver in the future.
Still feeling lazy? Fine. Let me introduce you to Shannon Zimmerman, who leads our Champion Funds service and who co-advises Motley Fool Green Light, our personal finance newsletter that provides hundreds of dollars worth of moneymaking advice monthly. Shannon is offering 30 days of free access to Green Light right now. Go ahead, take him up on the offer -- there's never an obligation to subscribe.
And, please, no more excuses, OK?
Oakmark is a Champion Funds pick. Intel is an Inside Value recommendation.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers writes weekly about personal finance and investing basics. Have a Foolish money tip? Tell him. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Tim's portfolio holdings can be found at his Fool profile. His thoughts on personal finance, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy just polished off a bag of Doritos and a six-pack of Corona. Mmmmm. Sleepy time.