I've recently finished reading Vanguard founder John C. Bogle's new book "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing." Basically, he describes in a rather succinct manner, how index investing is by far the best way to beat most professional managers. Bogle is indifferent between mutual funds and ETFs as the preferred method of investing, though he does caution that the nature of ETFs can seduce owners to trade them excessively rather than holding them for the long term. One could easily devise an easy, clear stock investment plan by using two ETF products and simple technical analysis and be confident that it will beat most professional investment models. I would buy Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index ETF (VTI) and its FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU). Whatever your outlook for the health/performance of the US economy is your allocation strategy. For Bulls, I'd choose a 70/30 ratio of VTI to VEU. For Bears, just the opposite. The VTI has an expense ratio of .07 percent, while the VEU has an expense ratio of .25 percent. Now if you apply a simple moving average to the equation you can see the direction of investor momentum in the ETF. I use a three line SMA with indicators based on the average closing price of 20, 50, 150 days ago. Your numbers can differ but I recommend you have a short, intermediate, and long term number in your model. SMAs are an easy way to let you know when momentum is favorable and to identify the direction of the trade before making your buy or sell decision. This method is better than the standard method of an annual reallocation of funds because you can modify your allocation based on obvious turning points of strength or weakness, thus increasing gains and lessening losses. Is this method foolproof? No, but if you're not a trader by profession and just want to earn a market return with some enhancements at a low cost it is my preferred recommendation.