The most tragic thing about the secret to successful investing is that most people completely overlook it. The secret is simply this; time. If you have money, and plenty of time before you’re going to need it, you can confidently sit through tough times in the market, and even sustained down markets like we’ve had over the last few years.
You can also wait confidently for an upward trend to come back and, while you’re doing it, get some bargain prices on stocks at the same time. In other words, time is definitely on your side. (We believe Mick Jagger would definitely agree.)
The average worker doesn’t take advantage of this time however, especially those in the period of their life when they actually have the longest time between starting work and retiring. A recent study showed that, of consumers between the age of 20 and 29 who have access to employer sponsored retirement plans like a 401(k), less than half actually take advantage of them.
In fact, when it comes to excuses about putting off retirement savings, every single one is fundamentally flawed. Let’s take a look.
Excuse #1: I’m too young to start saving for retirement. Even though a person might have 30 or even 40 years ahead of them before retirement comes around, and might have student loans and other debt that they need to pay off, the fact is that if you can give your money and extra 10, 20 or even 30 years to grow, the difference that it will make in your retirement account is massive. Not only that but saving when you’re younger starts a great habit that will serve you well throughout your life.
Excuse #2:The time is wrong to invest. While this sounds reasonable, especially considering that America is still struggling to recover from its recession, the fact is that there is always going to be a reason to not invest. However, when you look at stocks from companies like Starbucks and General Electric, both of which look like they were in seriously bad shape not too long ago, you can see that this logic is flawed. Even in a recession there are plenty of opportunities to pick up stocks an excellent prices.
Excuse #3: You don’t have enough money to invest to really make it worth it. Most people believe that a small amount of money like $50 a week won’t really do much good but, over 30 or 40 years and with the help of compound interest, that small investment could put an extra $30,000 into your retirement account by the time you’re ready to use it.
Simply put, time is definitely the one factor that can make you truly wealthy and, since it’s also exactly the same for every single person, there’s no reason that you can’t use it to your advantage.
The only thing you have to start doing is start using it today. If you don’t, it ends up working against you in the end.