One of the dark sides of sports, including the Olympics, is "juicing" -- the use of performance-enhancing drugs. I suppose that some athletes are so desperate to win, so underconfident in their own skill, that they'll do just about anything.
Investors sometimes find themselves in the same boat. They may feel that their stock-picking skills and results aren't at the level they desire, so they try to boost them artificially. They may, for example, take some performance-enhancing drugs that could get them disqualified from the Sensible Investors Committee. Yikes.
I'd like to review some of these dastardly chemical confections, and then follow them with a review of some good, permitted supplements for sensible investors. Some of them may still carry undesirable side effects, though. If that's the case, I'll recommend that you just go directly to what may be the best way for many of us to boost our investing performance: letting really smart people invest for us.
But first, let's cover those bad drugs.
No-no medications for investors might include:
Hyperactivetine: This drug will cause an investor to jump in and out of different stocks rapidly, not giving each investment a chance to perform. Its main side effect is dizziness and a shrinking portfolio.
Shorttermatrol: This one will cause an investor to focus solely on the short term, which can destroy a portfolio's performance. Since no one really knows how a stock (or the entire market) will perform over the next few weeks or months, it can be a futile way to invest. The drug's main side effect is an irresistible urge to bang your head against a wall. (Shorttermatrol users can be identified when they make statements such as this: "Starbucks
Growthchaseatrin: This medication will cause an investor to seek out briskly growing firms, buying into them at any cost. Its side effects include heartburn and the gnashing of teeth. Statements that can help identify growthchaseatrin abusers include "Genentech
The best drugs
Fortunately, you have better choices if you're looking to boost your investment performance. Consider these nifty drugs:
Patiencexa, often paired with Perspectivium: These drugs will help you sit still for a long time, as the stock market and your holdings fluctuate in value. They'll help you remember that even great stocks experience downturns. If you believe in Estee Lauder's
Diversificator: This drug can help an investor refrain from putting too many eggs in one basket. It can be a real temptation, if you're really sure of an investment's future -- but you might still be wrong. Just think of all the KrispyKreme
Disciplinasc: This drug can help investors keep from veering off the road of responsibility. If you're investing in carefully selected stocks, you need to keep up with them all, closely reading their quarterly and annual reports, as well as any other info you find on them. You'll also need to keep from overdiversifying or falling for a seemingly hot stock without doing some research on it. Which leads me to the next drug.
Hardworkoft: This is an important drug for many investors who want to maximize their chances of blow-out portfolio results by investing in carefully selected stocks. It helps them maintain the perseverance to do the necessary work. That's right, I said "work." This kind of investing can offer huge payoffs, but that usually follows significant effort on the part of the investor. You'll want to read deeply on a company, crunch its numbers, assess its future and competition, estimate its intrinsic value, and so on. A side effect of this drug is ... perspiration. (And exhilaration, when it pays off.)
If you're daunted
This may all be too much for some investors (maybe you!). That's fair -- and nothing to be ashamed of. There's even a great solution for you -- it's a drug called Pro-genil. Take it and you'll find yourself sensibly drawn to outstanding pros, mutual fund managers who routinely turn in annual returns of 10%, 12%, 14%, and more, beating the market handily and making their investors richer while demanding very little effort from them. It's a bit of a dream come true, isn't it?
There are, I'm happy to report, many excellent funds out there, with solid long-term track records and attractive prospects, ones with managers whose philosophies you'll respect. We'd love to introduce you to many of them, via our Motley Fool Champion Funds newsletter. Try it for free and see all the funds our analyst Shannon Zimmerman has recommended to subscribers. Together, his picks have more than doubled the market's return (as of the last time I checked), gaining an average of 19% vs. 9% in the same time period. Out of about 35 picks, only two were underwater -- by no more than 2.2%.
Here's to a happier portfolio! (And hey -- consider forwarding this article to anyone you care about. Just click on the "Email this Page" link near the bottom of the page.)
Selena Maranjian's favorite discussion boards include Book Club , The Eclectic Library , Television Banter , and Card & Board Games . She owns shares of Pfizer. For more about Selena, view her bio and her profile. You might also be interested in these books she has written or co-written: The Motley Fool Money Guide and The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens . The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.