Share This

  • Investment Planning

Waiting To Start Investing Could Be Your Biggest Money Mistake Yet

September 22, 2021

Ever wonder how wealthy people get wealthy? They start somewhere.

There’s a powerful quote by businessman and motivational speaker, Nido Qubein, that reads, “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” In other words: Even if your disposable income isn’t where you’d like it to be, the key part with any process is that you begin , regardless of where your starting point is. After all, you don’t know where it’ll ultimately take you down the line.

And here’s the secret: Just because flashy, overnight gains from the headlines don’t apply to you doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat on investing.

You’ve probably heard all the commotion about crypto. People are using Bitcoin to buy boats , pay rent and make all sorts of day-to-day purchases . In fact, Standard Chartered made headlines when the investment bank announced its belief that Bitcoin would surge to $100,000 late this year or early next. And it’s not just Bitcoin on the rise. Analysts predict that the biggest cryptocurrency could be valued at $175,000 some day.

Sure, meme stocks are hot right now, too. Especially after investors jumpstarted GameStop’s stock price from just $17 to over $500 in a matter of days, dragging dozens of heavily-shorted securities and cryptocurrencies with them. Remember when? But short-term trades, while they can certainly land you bigtime gains, are rooted in risk.

Longer-term investing, on the other hand, sets capital aside—sometimes for decades, through bull and bear markets, upswings and downswings—to ultimately grow with market upticks and compounded interest over time. The sooner you get started investing, the more time your money has to make more money—growth that’s likely to outpace inflation. This is particularly true if you diversify your portfolio across asset classes and industries to mitigate risk, minimize potential losses and protect your gains through inevitable market volatility.

In fact, research suggests that investing generally sees annual returns of about eight to 10 percent. Over the last 70 years, stock market prices have risen by 1,100%. So, if you’d invested just $1,000 seven decades ago, that investment would be worth over a cool million today.

A new NerdWallet study also shows that investing a small percent of your annual income could land you upwards of $3.3 million in potential retirement gains. The study reviewed the last four decades to determine how much the average 25-year-old who earns a median annual income of $40,456 would accumulate over the next 40 years if they’d invested 15 percent of their income (should market conditions remain comparable).

That’s why the most regretful mistake you can make is not investing in the wrong stocks; rather, it’s not investing at all. Because opportunity losses tend to sting the most.

Still, less than half of Americans under 30 are invested in the stock market, according to CNBC. Why? Ally Financial research shows that about 61 percent of adults admit that investing seems “scary or intimidating.” Plus, the reality is that most of us don’t feel knowledgeable enough to do it on our own, Investopedia’s Affluent Millennial Investing Survey purports. As such, people tend to struggle with anxiety surrounding their finances, Bank of America’s 2020 Better Money Habits Millennial Report suggests. In fact, most Americans worry about their financial futures, according to research by John Hancock Financial.

Plus, if you’re waiting to pay off debt to get in a more comfortable financial position to invest, note that research by Northwestern Mutual suggests one in 10 Americans believe they’ll never be debt-free. So, you could be waiting a lifetime...

At the end of the day, you’ll never have a higher risk tolerance than you do right now. Read that again, and get started with what you have, where you are.

By - Make Genius Money Moves, Contributor

© 2020 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved

This Forbes article was legally licensed through AdvisorStream.

Credit: AdvisorStream and Forbes