Get in the (Investing) Game

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, many individual investors have lost faith in the stock market and in Wall Street. And who can blame them.

The fraud, malfeasance, and plain boorish behavior on the part of Wall Street institutions aside, there's high unemployment and underemployment, higher gas prices, and the endless patter of how bad our economy is doing.

Worse, none of this seems to square with rising corporate earnings and a rising stock market. Many individual investors' daily experience in a slow-growth economy tells them in their gut something is off.

Sadly, that gut feeling has caused many investors to stay on the sidelines and miss a significant market rally, not just over the past year, but over the past three and a half years since the market bottomed in March 2009.

As an investment adviser and portfolio manager I understand these trepidations. But I have also learned from experience that second-guessing the market and letting your emotions rule your investment strategy almost never works out.

So if you are one of the disenfranchised investors sitting on the sidelines, here are some step to take to get back in the ball game:

1. Many investment advisory firms, including ours, offer free portfolio reviews. Take advantage of them, there should be no cost and no obligation to you.

2. The Street.com offers free investment tools, as well as some very low-cost tools. Many tools that are free now were proprietary just a few years ago, and individual investors couldn't gain access to them very easily. Now they can.

3. Don't get rushed or pressured into any decisions. Investing is a long-term proposition. And guess what? There are no opportunities here today that will be gone tomorrow.

4. Stick with investing in industries and businesses you know and are comfortable with. This is the Warren Buffett way. Buffett, who knows nothing about technology, missed several tech booms in the market over the last 30 years. Still, he seems to be doing fine.

5. Think of investing in terms of themes or "motifs." Visit www.motifinvesting.com for some ideas.

I'm not affiliated Motif Investing and have no business dealings with them. Nonetheless I do like their approach, especially for disenfranchised investors looking for a new way to get back into the market.

Remember, when planning your financial future, one of the risks you face is not taking enough risk. Sitting on cash feels good now, but it offers your money absolutely no opportunity to grow and only loses purchasing power or becomes susceptible to being used for whimsical big-ticket purchases like a boat, sports car or ski vacation. These purchases may feel as good or better than simply sitting on cash, but they will spoil your financial future.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Oliver Pursche is President of Gary Goldberg Financial Services, a boutique money management firm located in Suffern, NY. Additionally, Mr. Pursche is the Co-Portfolio Manager for the GMG Defensive Beta Fund, and a Founding Partner of Montebello Partners, llc. In his role as President of GGFS, and as a member of the GGFS Investment Committee, Mr. Pursche helps oversee the investment portfolio of over 2000 clients with over $500 million dollars in assets. Mr. Pursche frequently provides market and economic commentary on CNBC and Fox Business News, as well as often being interviewed by The Financial Times, US News and World Report, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Associated Press regarding his and the firms views on the latest market news and events. Mr. Pursche's views on the market and investment strategies have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Smart Money, USA Today and other national business publications. In addition to writing for TheStreet.com, he is also a weekly contributor on Forbes.com and BankRate.com. His daily market commentary can be read at www.betafundcommentary.com or you can listen to him on www.financialtalkshow.com weekdays at 10:00 AM.