I highly recommend the Motley Fool. I follow their advice pretty much to the letter - and I've been tracking my performance compared to investing it all in the S&P 500 with all dividends reinvested since 2007 (before the financial crisis) I've been investing much longer than that but brokerage statements only go back so far.
The results of this is that I've outperformed the "market" by over 50% total over that period. Basically I have outperformed by about 5% per year. That's a big deal. I'm no genius, I'm just playing a different game than the wall street folks.
I have some index investments in my 401K but other than that I'm all individual stocks.
The studies that show that "active managers" don't outperform don't apply to individual investors in my humble opinion. It's blindingly obvious, that on average the performance of an investment is only going to be as good as the overall performance, minus fees, of the market. A lot of ink has been spilled proclaiming the obvious. That being said, I believe that the individual has many advantages over the institutional investors.
1: We don't have to compete with anyone else for quarterly performance. We can hold on as long as we want. Time frame is the biggest advantage.
2: Invest in businesses not names or charts or whatever. Buy excellent companies and hold on to them for a long time.
3: We can control our own behavior. I didn't sell out in March 2009 in fact I was buying all the way down and back up. Mutual fund managers don't get to stop people from panic selling - and are forced to liquidate good stocks at the worst time, and forced to buy after a huge upswing, too.
4: My small purchases aren't going to move the market. And since I hold for a long time, even if I did get a few pennies shaved off for trading friction and such, who cares?
5: Even index funds have ongoing costs. An $8 commission on a $6000 investment that I held for 14 years has less than 0.01% annual expense ratio. And now the stock is worth $260K
Now, the average individual investor buys high and sells low, panics at the worst possible times, chases performance, jumps on the latest hot stock, and basically is his own worst enemy. I'm interested in capturing the results of that bad behavior for myself.
If you can control your behavior and avoid these mistakes for the most part (nobody is perfect) then I think that beating the market is pretty easy.
Index investing is fine. Know yourself and if you can't behave properly then just set it and forget it. Otherwise it's worth the effort.
50% more dollars in my account says that this is true.