When I was an advisor on Tangerine’s index-based portfolios it was a common question asked by clients and potential clients.
Is today a good day to invest?
The answer was always yes. ‘Today is a good day to plant a tree’.
When you have many years or decades and you’re prepared to be patient and consistent and nurturing, the sooner you start the better. Plant that sapling in the ground. Many will also add that ‘the only day that was better to start investing than today, was yesterday’.
Thanks to WealthBar for the ‘made in the shade’ illustration.
The world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett, likes to stroll through the investment woods to offer his own analogies and metaphors. Mr. Buffett is known for his very inspiring and folksy and whimsical writings.
Now I certainly have to take issue with BrainyQuotes use of a snow-capped mountain image for this wonderful quote, but perhaps in this January Canadian cold snap, it’s fitting.
All said, cold or no cold, snow or no snow, today is a good day to plant a tree. Today is a good day to start investing. Today is a good day to keep investing. Today is a good day to stick to that simple investment plan of adding monies on a regular schedule.
Stick to that simple plan. Turn off the TV.
I know that today many investors are sitting on their hands or are hesitant to start investing. There’s simply too much noise out there. There’s simply too much noise and confusion with respect to the financial media and the financial industry as a whole. It’s their job to scare you, and to keep you confused. They want you to think that you need their expertise and understanding of ‘the current situation’. You don’t need them. You don’t need to understand the current situation when the plan is focused on the longer term. Keep your eyes on the horizon, don’t look down at your feet.
Ignore the financial scare mongers. Mr. Buffett does.
Fortunately you can ignore everything and everyone.
The world’s greatest investor ignores all of the noise, you can too. Here’s another quote from Mr. Buffett on how much he likes to play around with his investments.
Buy. Hold. Add.
The scare mongers will throw lots of charts and projections at you. They’ll simply throw a lot of guesswork and fortune telling your way.
Here’s the only chart to consider. This is a long term chart of the S&P 500 index, representing US stocks. Of course, that’s a staple in simple balanced portfolios. Please have a read of This is Easy Street for Canadian Investors.
Charts for Canadian markets will look similar, but not exact. This chart is courtesy of portfoliovisualizer.com
In the period for the chart the average annual return was over 10% per year. That’s the chart you want to look at and ‘invest in’. We see that for the period the US market turned $10,000 into $1,000,000. Yes that a very long time frame, longer than most of us will have to build our retirement wealth. Perhaps most of us will invest over a 25 or 30 year period. Over the last 30 years the US market delivered 9.8% per year and would have turned every $10,000 into $165,000.
Of course past performance does not guarantee future returns. But if we invest, we do need to be an optimist – a long term optimist. The stocks markets of Canada, the US and International have delivered very strong investment returns over time. We invest with in that long term chart and the belief that history will repeat. Behind the long term charts that show incredible growth is the growing economies of the developed world powered by the energy and creativity and resourcefulness of each nation’s leading companies and workers. With a growing world population we have more consumers available to purchase more of those those goods and services. As an investor that is a very positive and consistent long term trend. I’m confident that the trend will continue. So I invest.
There are thousands of events you can ignore along the way.
Please have a read of this CTCI post from October 2018, Canadian Markets Take Back Gains For The Year. How To Make That Feel Really Small. In that article you’ll find a chart that details the ‘scary’ events that sensible investors ignored over a 10 year period (even moving through a major market correction) as the US markets went on to delivery an average of nearly 9% per year. Imagine the amount of noise and hysteria you’ll need to ignore over a 30-year period?
Market volatility is normal and expected behaviour. The thing is, we don’t know when corrections are coming, how severe they may be, or how long they will last. The good news is – if you have a long term time horizon and the markets do fall, it’s a positive event. Your investments are going on sale and you’re able to buy more units or shares. Don’t worry about market corrections and volatility, embrace them. It’s a healthy wealth-building event for the long term investor. I’ve been on this investment gardening theme for quite some time, here’s my 2015 Seeking Alpha article, Market Corrections Are Healthy. Have a look at that article if you want to also have a look at the Cut The Crap Investing Summer office.
Building wealth over the longer term is simple and it should be relatively stress free. And we certainly do need to invest within our comfort level. Of course that typically means adding the right amount of shock absorber to the portfolio.
Keep it simple and cheap. Cost is important, fees are wealth destroyers. Check out the harmful effect of fees using the T-Rex score on the Beat The Bank site.
You’ll find some low fee options on my Robo Advisors and Funds page. You may choose to self direct and create your own Model ETF Portfolio. You may search for a fee-for-service advisor.
Is your financial house in order?
Before you plant that tree, some housekeeping is in order. Of course not everyone should invest. We have to first take care of the financial planning basics. Do you have an emergency fund? Have you cleared your high interest debt? Are you covered with the proper insurance(s) if appropriate and required. Do you have a financial plan?
If your house is in order then I’d certainly suggest that yes, today is a good day to plant a tree. I just added $5,5000 of fertilizer to my wife’s RRSP.
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Contact me, Dale @ firstname.lastname@example.org