When Should You Invest?
An investment is utilizing your human or financial capital in anticipation that will pay off beneficially in the future for yourself and for others. We invest in education to increase opportunities for success. We invest in our neighborhoods to increase the quality of life and improve living conditions. We invest in real estate or the stock market with the hope that it will increase in value over time.
In the quest to build a better world, investing at all levels would be considered a foundational value. It is the pursuit to better ourselves, our families, our communities and the world. When you want something to improve over time, you invest. All investing includes the possibility that it may not turn out the way we anticipated.
Concerns to conquer and points to ponder.
When do you invest in the broadly based stock market, in local real estate, or in a business venture? What is holding you back? I have heard justifications on all accounts.
“Real estate or stock prices are too high. Too much uncertainty and risk. This market correction is different. Retirement means growth is off the table. What they are saying in the news is….”. We let our emotions or misinformation sway our financial decisions and it ultimately hurts your opportunities for the long-term benefits. The prime emotion we face is FEAR.
Fear that reasonable speculation won’t be rewarded. Fear that we won’t have what we want – when we want it. Looking down the road is hard, and our brains are wired to focus on pleasure or pain – in the moment. It is inherently difficult to picture the future and what we need to do to create it. Change is hard, change can be uncomfortable – whether it be in our personal growth, revitalizing communities or preparing for our financial futures.
The remedy to fear is planning and education. While no plan is perfect, it heads you on a trajectory toward your envisioned future. You will always need to make course corrections, but you are moving in the right direction. Put a plan in place and create habits that allow you to systematically act instead of reacting episodically to whatever jarring current event is momentarily in the media. Financially literacy doesn’t end when math class is over. Keep learning, exploring, questioning, growing. Surround yourself with professionals who will walk alongside you, unpack complexities, answer questions, provide guidance.
Allow for the inherent risks. Market corrections and recessions are like bad weather and seasonal changes – they can be anticipated, and once understood, prepared for and taken advantage of. They don’t last long – know that they will pass. Markets can’t be “timed”, but you can build permanent long-term gains by not only tolerating but embracing the economic weather cycles. I love the quote “Don’t wait for the storm to pass – learn to dance in the rain”!
Simon Sinek’s “start with the why” has universal applications. Each of us has a different reason for creating a healthy financial life and building true wealth. What is yours? I am proud to know that I am participating in something bigger than myself, improving the world around me and benefiting from those enhancements.
Financially speaking – when you are goals focused for yourself and society, the best time to buy investments always has been and always will be when you have the money.
If you are fortunate to have the financial wherewithal to invest, take the time to identify your why, educate yourself in the aspects that are important to you, face your fears, chart your course that heads you in the right direction – and start investing!