Here's a simple guide to losing your nest egg all by yourself instead of paying a professional with years of experience to do it for you. For those of you who have yet to play the game, here's a brief summary of how it generally works for the rest of us.

Step One: Begin!

Write down a URL you saw on a commercial. Send them a check. You're ready to begin!

Step Two: Buy.

Look up a stock that you've heard is "good." Don't bother checking to see if the price to earnings ratio is unrealistically high or if the stock is currently at its 52-week high. Just buy it.

Step Three: Read stuff.

Read something that says you should sell the stock you bought.

Step Four: Sell.

Panic and sell the stock you bought. Assume you're doing the right thing. Pat yourself on the back for your wise investment strategy. I mean, you read an article and everything! You know your shit, unlike the other guys.

Step Four: Panic.

Watch the price of the stock you sold go up. Imagine seeing it go up day after day. Imagine adding up how much you would've made if you hadn't sold that stock, day after day. Buy back the stock at a price that's much higher than what you sold it for.

Step Five: Gnash teeth and tear hair out.

Experience nausea and shortness of breath as the stock plummets and you realize that you did everything exactly the wrong way.

Step Six: Make promises.

Vow never to buy another individual stock online. From now on, you're sticking to mutual funds.

Step Seven: Buy a mutual fund.

Read stuff. Pick a mutual fund that made more than 70 percent last year. There must be a genius at the helm of that one!

Step Eight: Watch it sink.

Watch as the returns from your mutual fund go into the negative double digits.

Step Nine: Bonds?

Vow to steer clear of the stock market altogether from now on. Look into bonds as a steady, stable alternative. Then sit back and watch over the next 10 years as your portfolio grows at 5 percent while everyone else you know becomes a millionaire. Then, just as you're almost at retirement age, panic over how little you have to retire on and put it all in tech stocks. Then watch as the tech stocks lose half their value for the first time in 20 years.

Step Ten: Die penniless.

Hey, look on the bright side. That was much more exciting than sound investing, wasn't it? And think of all the taxes you saved, thanks to those enormous capital losses!

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