Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

Investment Help For Individual Investors: Proceed With Caution

Programs promising investment help for individual investors can be found in the thousands online. The problem is that most of these programs are more harmful than helpful. Unfortunately, inexperienced investors are prime targets for marketers with questionable products and services.

Most 'systems' that offer investment help make claims based on historic data, which rarely translates into what is happening in the markets today.  They come up with a mathematical formula that 'works' over the past 20 years, or 30 years...or whatever time frame that makes their system look the best.

The typical individual investor does need investment help if they plan on beating market averages, whether experienced or not. With most bull market cycles, a large percentage of investors take the following actions:
  • Wait "to be sure" and finally buy close to the top of the bull run.
  • Hang on when the market starts to drop hoping for a turn around.
  • Finally "get out" and sell near the bottom.
The few investment help programs that use the backtesting method actually do get some results for a short time. Much like the way investors wait to make sure a stock is continuing to rise, they also wait until investment 'systems' seem to be working for a while before they buy into them.  At the point they have already lost what little effectiveness they might have had. Most of them didn't offer anything of value in the first place.

Using systems for help with your investments that are based on backtesting isn't much different than stepping into a casino. Odds are, you'll lose.  Real help for individual investors is difficult to find, but it does exist.

Mathematical systems and purely technical methods are seldom the best option. You need to find a person or organization that knows how to evaluate potential investments, business, and the economy and who constantly monitors the markets, the news, and politics to incorporate all of this information into their recommendations. A program that does not depend on a formula focusing on technical analysis only, administered by respected individuals who have a track record of success.

Gerald Celente with his Trends Journal and Kip Herriage with his VRA Letter are good examples. (These programs are now offered together in the Crash Proof Prosperity Newsletter). They make their investment recommendations based on multiple factors after observing what is actually happening in the world.  Their track records speak for themselves. They both predicted the dot-bomb, housing crisis, and 2008-2009 meltdown (along with many other events) and advised investors accordingly.

As individual investors, we need to be cautious when seeking investment help. It's ultimately our responsibility what we decide to do and who we decide to follow.  Let's make those decisions wisely.