I immersed myself in the stock market around three years ago with the idea that I could and would do better than the index funds. So far, so good. In terms of my own ethos, I would never advise anyone to buy a stock that I wouldn't want in my own portfolio. I look for secular growth stories and companies with durable competitive advantages. I even came up with an acrostic for my particular investing philosophy: "Superiority/Ubiquity/Necessity." Just like the sun, the market will go down and will also rise. But if you made the right investments, the sun need never set in your twilight years. It's a little corny, but I think it's a good way to look at things.