Investing is an excruciating mental challenge. Even among professional institutional investors, only a select few can beat the market on a regular basis. And those folks have all day, every day to devote to company analysis, stock picking, and the market in general. If they can't reliably outperform passively managed indexes, what chance do the rest of us have?

And yet it can be done. Greats like Peter Lynch, Bill Miller, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gross have earned well-deserved reputations as market slayers. But there's a world of difference between knowing something is possible and actually making it happen. And as an investor with real money on the line, the learning process -- and the mistakes that come with it -- can be painful to your pocketbook.

Investing for people with lives
Of course, we'd all like to beat the market. There's still that nagging catch -- who among us really has the time to learn the skills and discipline needed to win? With family, work, and other high-priority obligations, there are only so many extra hours in the day. If you've got a life outside of the stock market, learning to invest tends to get short shrift.

Fortunately, there's a much simpler solution: Hire the right experts to beat the market for you. Believe it or not, the best of the best often come at a surprisingly inexpensive price. In fact, it's that low-cost mentality that often helps them be the best. As my friend and colleague Shannon Zimmerman has told his Motley Fool Champion Funds subscribers, high fees are a primary reason why so many mutual funds regularly fail to beat their benchmarks.

Win with almost no personal effort
When you do it right and combine a top-notch money manager with lower than average fees, the results can be phenomenal. Consider Constellation Clover Core Value (FUND:CCEVX), a fund recommended in the very first issue of Champion Funds. Since being picked, it has returned a hair more than 35% to its holders, compared to a mere 13% and change for the S&P 500 index. According to data from Yahoo! Finance, the fund's expense ratio is below its category average, as is its turnover (the rate at which the manager buys and sells stocks). Both these figures are good signs that the fund managers are keeping costs down and their shareholders in mind.

Even better, the same manager, Michael E. Jones, has been at the helm here since 1991. With a steady leader, the odds are pretty good that the fund's philosophy and style will be consistent for as long as his tenure lasts. That bodes well for your ability to sleep at night, knowing your money is in the hands of the person you specifically hired to manage it for you.

Allocate for success
Fees and turnover rates are important, but absolutely critical to any fund manager's success is a rational asset-allocation strategy. That strategy determines how, why, and where the manager invests the money entrusted to the fund. For instance, value-focused funds look to buy companies in industries that are out of favor on Wall Street. The theory behind that strategy is that all glory is fleeting, especially in the stock market. Today's hero often turns into tomorrow's zero, and today's dud just might become tomorrow's "can't live without" company.

For instance, in the late 1990s, the Internet was poised to change the world. Thanks to the one-two punch from companies gearing up for the new online era and combating the Y2K bug, nearly infinite resources were poured into technology companies. High-tech networking firms like Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and JDSU (NASDAQ:JDSU) were the must-have investments of the era. Yet any infrastructure investment has its limit; no company wants to pay for capacity it will likely never need. And with Y2K a one-time event, all spending associated with it was simply destined to end.

Value funds ignored the hot areas, instead focusing on unloved areas such as the oil market. Remember those days, just before the turn of the century? Oil traded around $15 a barrel, and gasoline could be bought for under $1 a gallon. The same market that couldn't buy enough networking companies at any price left oil giants like ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) for dead. Even ignoring the effects of terrorism and war in the Middle East, $15-per-gallon oil was simply too low a price; oil companies couldn't expend resources on searching for or bringing new supplies online. Some rebound in the price of oil was bound to happen as demand caught up with supply.

Where are tomorrow's winners?
Unlike investors that bid technology too high and sold energy too low, intelligent asset allocators like those Shannon seeks for Champion Funds recognize reality ahead of the curve. They focus their investments where the market is clearly excessively pessimistic and ignore those areas where the market is displaying Alan Greenspan's irrational exuberance. Over the long haul, the performance of such a strategy speaks for itself. History has a way of proving both the market's excessive optimism and pessimism wrong.

You and I may not have the time or inclination to reason through such major trends. We can, however, hire the right people to do the heavy lifting for us, and then simply sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

If you'd like to see more before joining, be my guest. We're such believers in low-cost investing that we'll give you a free, no obligation 30-day trial to Champion Funds. Simply click here to get started.

At the time of publication, Fool contributor Chuck Saletta had no ownership stake in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.