The question as to whether an individual investor can beat the market has inspired hundred of studies, numerous books, and millions of hours of debate. You're welcome to read books and decide on your own. However, if you're gonna try individual stocks, I would do it with the attitude that it's interesting, fun, and worthwhile itself, even if you only match the market long haul. And you better like numbers, reading income and balance statements and understanding a business. It's possible, I do it, but you better be interested in it!Also, with commissions in the $5 to $10 range, you want to keep your expenses below 1% of your market values, also you may want to add to a position if the value gets better. So, really, you should have $1000 to $2000 in each stock. Also, to even be approaching some risk reducing diversification, you really probably need to 10 to 15 stocks in different industries. So total, we're talking at least $10K to $30K to be investing in individual stocks. Until then, index funds are probably the way to go.The one thing I'll disagree with is that TR 2045 is the way to go otherwise. Unless you don't even want to do enough work to pick your own asset allocation, you'll save on fund fees by picking a few indexes yourself, rather than pay them to pick your allocation for you.