"Average is best" - a note to myself in my paper journal. A reminder to not bother trying to 'beat' the market but to be happy to accept what the market delivers - the sharemarket (in Australia and in most Western democracies) has delivered well over the longer term.
I can't control the return on my investments. I can control the risk (by being diversified; and through the right asset selection and portfolio structure). I can control the cost (by choosing fund managers which have lower costs).
I have to remind myself, that no one, least of all me, knows when the right time to buy or sell is. Or indeed what the right set of shares are to outperform the market over the longer term. With few exceptions, even the professional fund managers don't outperform the market over the long term - certainly they are not on average outperforming to a degree that pays their fees (at least that's the data I have seen). So rather than chase outstanding returns while driving up your costs and risk, accept a consistently average performance (that of the market) at a lower cost and potentially lower risk.
It doesn't make sense does it - we're all smart and intelligent (or you wouldn't be reading my ramblings!). Surely we can beat the market? No you can't. Accept it, take the average of the market and enjoy more life.
Do yourself a favour and read up on Index Funds (Vanguard is a good source of information) and invest in a copy of "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" [AbeBooks]. Yes, it is about US markets, but the fundamental truths apply elsewhere.
It's a great treatise on the broad subject of investing and how not to be a mug and ultimately lose out by trying to beat the market (in the long run you can't - in the very long run, we're all dead, as a dead economist once said). I like how the author has demonstrated his methods by investing the royalties from the book in his son's name, and has successfully funded his (expensive as it's in the US) education.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser. This is my opinion and it all makes sense to me. You really should do some reading and prove it for yourself. It took a long time for me to accept the paradoxical sense in "Average is best".