Well, I hate to disappoint you, but unless your name is Warren Buffett, being "good at investing” is likely to cause as many problems as it solves.
One problem is that people typically overrate their investment abilities, because true genius is rarely found. If you let your ego get in the way, you are likely to make rash errors, and will always be at risk of hubris.
Just look at star UK fund manager Neil Woodford. After three decades at the top, he made a string of bad investment calls compounded by the error of moving outside his core competence of large-cap dividend stocks into small, illiquid companies. Investment research repeatedly shows that around three quarters of fund managers fail to beat their index, and the longer the comparison period, the more likely they are to underperform. You may be a bright spark, but that's not enough. It could even be your downfall.
So does success come down to making top investment calls? Only up to a point. If you bought, say, Amazon stock straight after the dot.com crash, your timing was sublime and you will be far richer as a result.
So how many people did that? A tiny proportion. And even if you get a big call right once, you may lose a lot of money battling to repeat your success.
Nobody can repeatedly time the market correctly, because performance is driven by more variables than any human brain can calculate.
For example, you might think now is a great time to short the market ahead of a stormy autumn, as the global economy slows, the US-China trade war deepens and Brexit turns nasty. The problem is that expert analysts have been predicting a stock market crash every year since the last one, and still haven't got it right.
Nervous investors who kept their money in cash over that time have lost an awful lot of money as a result. If the US Federal Reserve continues to slash interest rates in response to current worries, today’s bull run could get fresh legs, and your short will cost you dear.
Doing your research
In many walks of life, success comes down to hard work. Surely that applies to investing as well? Well, yes, up to a point.
Some people like nothing more than to work through quarterly financial statements and annual reports, poring over cash flow statements, sales figures and operating profits in the hope of unearthing a top opportunity the wider market may have overlooked.
I've worked with some of these people. They are clever, obsessive and their weekends are not their own. Sometimes all that hard work pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. Annual reports hide as much as they reveal. Even if you think you understand a company, you remain at the mercy of events. Hard work can help and if you enjoy reading those reports – go for it. Just remember it is no guarantee of success. Good investors can make bad calls, just ask Mr Woodford.