Quick. Who is on the $100 bill?
You probably know. However, ask a few of your friends or family members, and I'm guessing that more than half will draw a blank on nailing the answer as Benjamin Franklin. I'm also willing to go out on a limb and predict that the younger the person, the less likely he or she is to know the right answer.
That's not just because knowledge comes with experience, although that's certainly part of the equation. The driving force is that the younger you are, the less relevant greenbacks seem to be as legal tender.
We live in a time in which the swiping of credit cards and the ripping of perforated checks have replaced the exchange of conventional currency. Plastic payments and bank checks are themselves likely to be replaced by online transactions and electronic micropayments in the future.
Sorry, Ben. It's not personal. It's just evolution.
I sense a disturbance in the force
If something as rudimentary as money can one day grow to be obsolete, how sure can you be that mainstays such as cars, televisions, and telephones will be around in 10 or 20 years?
You never can be sure. Progress marches on, and history is little more than a timeline of people who have built better mousetraps. Sure, music, manners, and friendly neighbors may have deteriorated over the years, but nearly everything else has gotten better.
There isn't a single industry that can't be disrupted. Not one. Once you accept that reality -- and realize that what worked yesterday may get trounced tomorrow -- you will be on your way to profit from the great investing opportunities that are waiting to be bankrolled.
The first step is cutting the cord
It's easy to shake your head at folks who went crazy bidding up tulip bulbs in the 1600s, or even your parents who found shelter in the "Nifty Fifty" stocks of the early 1970s. However, what if you're making the same mistake by loading up on yesterday's blue chips and relying on rearview-mirror valuation metrics?
As a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers analyst team, I can't settle for what worked yesterday or even what's working today. I believe the real money to be made will be in nailing the growth stocks that are reshaping the future. Some of the premium research service's recent picks include:
(NYSE:CRM), a cloud-computing pioneer that gives companies a low-cost enterprise-software solution without the need for costly hardware updates on their end.
China Finance Online
(NASDAQ:JRJC), which provides stock market research in China, a country ripe with promise but even hungrier for equity knowledge.
(NASDAQ:HANS), a company that's winning over thirsty energy-drink fans with its tasty Monster canned beverages.
Is it possible that a software company will drum up a more cost-effective answer to customer relationship management, a research specialist will find more compelling ways to enlighten Chinese investors, or a new beverage will win over this country's sippers? Of course. In fact, it is more than possible. It's probable.
But the essence of Rule Breakers investing is embracing this probability and continuing to find tomorrow's winners before the rest of the crowd does.
The second step is staying ahead of the first step
There can't be disruptive stocks without industries -- and companies -- that are being disrupted in the process. If Amazon.com
The trends are unmistakable, yet way too many investors are chasing the fading players in a game they no longer understand. Obsolescence happens. Colors fade, especially blue chips. If your buy thesis for a company is that the stock is cheap relative to what the company was capable of during its glory days, then you're living -- and investing -- in the past.
Being a "Rule Breaker" doesn't mean dismissing the past. If anything, it means playing in a fertile playground to learn how -- and why -- disruptions take place in certain sectors. The past and the present help us think smarter about the future. So taking the next step to join me and my fellow analysts in dissecting the future doesn't involve crystal balls or tinfoil hats, although the dress code is strictly up to you in our virtual classroom.
The important thing is that you take the time today to think about which stocks will rise tomorrow. That's the best way to fill your pockets with Franklins, or whatever the future currency equivalent winds up being.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz always sets his clock a day ahead. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story. China Finance Online, salesforce.com, and Hansen Natural are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Amazon.com is a Stock Advisor section. Rick is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.