For $149, you may be able to learn whether you've got gold-medal athletic potential. The New York Times reports that a new commercially available test can determine whether a subject is well-suited for speed and power sports, endurance sports, or both. Parents are using the test to see which sports might suit their kids best.

It sounds harmless enough, but remember, there are exceptions to every rule. The test might steer kids away from sports they'd really love, whether they excel at those pursuits or not. Though roughly 200 of our genes may govern our athletic abilities, none of them necessarily define our destiny. The article noted one Spanish Olympic long jumper who didn't have the expected gene.

Holding back on investing
Still, some parents might use this test as the sole reason to keep their kids out of a certain sport -- just like the we sometimes keep ourselves from investing for similarly silly reasons. Back in 2001, our annual April Fools prank got some people thinking there was an "investing gene" that determined stock market performance. The more common excuses we make for not investing are no less ridiculous.

We tell ourselves don't have enough time. (A simple index fund takes mere minutes to set up.) We're not smart enough. (Again, index funds are great no-brainers.) We don't have enough money. (It's easy to find inexpensive brokers.)

And if you fear your money won't grow very quickly in stocks, especially well-known ones, check out these market-beating 10-year average annual gains:


10-year avg. annual return

United Technologies (NYSE:UTX)




Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI)


Lowe's (NYSE:LOW)


Deere (NYSE:DE)




Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM)


Data: Yahoo! Finance.

There's no gene standing between you and your dreams of, say, javelin superstardom. And there's no insurmountable obstacle keeping you from investing for a better future. Heck, you don't even have to pick the best stocks on your own. Let us point you to some top-notch mutual funds via a free trial to our Motley Fool Champion Funds newsletter (where I've found a bunch of winners for my own portfolio).

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.