As an investing geek, I enjoy tracking the market's ever-changing moods. I get a kick out of watching Wall Street swoon or soar based on the latest scrap of macroeconomic data. Even better is watching the Gucci-loafer set's reaction when a company misses or exceeds earnings estimates by some marginal amount. Was the result already priced in? Was it a genuine surprise?

Inquiring minds wanna know!
It depends on who you ask. Last week, for instance, Del Monte Foods (NYSE:DLM) saw profits rise, yet its stock still dropped more than 10%. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (NYSE:JTX) missed earnings by $0.06 per share and similarly took a nosedive.

Yet Guess? (NYSE:GES), it seems, can do no wrong: The popular apparel company reported a 35% increase in first-quarter profit, sending its shares up 11% in just one day.

Geek out
Still, while as an investing geek I'm intrigued by Mr. Market's mercurial ways, as an actual investor, I want nothing to do with them. Well, next to nothing anyway. I own a handful of individual stocks, but the lion's share of my nest egg is invested in Grade-A mutual funds for a simple reason: I hate losing money.

Funds aren't immune to downturns, of course, but they're a lot less risky than individual stocks, which have a bad habit of behaving irrationally. Funds, meanwhile, are more even-keeled and logical. Indeed, if you do your homework and focus on common-sense criteria like fees, strategy, and whether a fund manager invests his own moola alongside that of his shareholders, you can go a long way toward identifying those funds that can both grow and protect your nest egg.

This is the criteria I used to uncover top-notch mutual fund CGM Focus (CGMFX), which has more than doubled investors' money since 2006 -- and which has 10-year annualized returns of more than 25%! Today, this fund has positions in companies like Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), Alcoa (NYSE:AA), Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX).

Call it a two-for-one
To be truthful, this is the premise I used during the whole time I headed up the Fool's Champion Funds investing service. And it's the premise I'll be operating under in my latest venture, Ready-Made Millionaire. This real-money portfolio will feature a strong foundation of best-of-class mutual funds, a few individual stocks, as well as an ETF -- all tailor-made for long-term money-making and market-beating results. For more information about this service, simply enter your email address in the box below.