Time in the Market vs Market Timing

Mike Cashion, MFF Director of Operation

By: Mike Cashion, MFF Director of Operations

This past year has seen millions of new people open investing accounts as retail investors. It has become very popular for people to participate in investing and specifically day trading via gamified trading applications. Gambling and risk taking are fun and exciting. This is especially the case during a time when you are stuck at home, recovering from an injury, or are bored with ample amounts of time to daydream about striking it rich.

There is this ongoing narrative that is glorified… It is more so the daydream of getting rich quickly. It sounds sexy. But it really does not often work that way. Overnight success is a myth, and those that do experience it often see it go away just as quickly. Building wealth takes time, investment, patience, and consistency. It is like building a business or raising a child. It takes care, time, thought, consistency and a lot of hard work.

The Long View

Recently, I was reading a book that referenced Warren Buffet’s business success and wealth accumulation. What was interesting was that he had been investing for quite some time before he reached any significant wealth accumulation. From age 20-50 he had returns, but most of his returns and high-earning years happened from age 50 and beyond. It was a matter of time in the market, taking the long view, not looking for short term gains, and learning with time.

Consistent Investment

You do not need a ton of money to get started. You do not need to use margin (borrowed money). You just need to be consistent in your investing over time. Start with a manageable amount of money that you can live with and stay consistent. Think of your 401k. You probably invest somewhere between 3-5% of your pre-tax income into your 401k and likely don’t even notice that it has been deducted from your pay. What is a small but manageable amount that you could consistently invest weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly without sweating it? You can always increase the amount you invest, but always keep it at an amount that you can stick with over time. Consistency always prevails.

Potential Over Time

We learn a ton over time. I am in my 30’s now and realize every day how much more there is to learn. As is the case with learning, goes the case with investing. A little bit each day adds up and even compounds over time. This is probably a good thing. If I had a bunch of money in my early 20’s, I would most certainly have lost a lot of it due to inexperience and poor decision making.

As your resources are invested and add up over time, you will have more money to work with, and hopefully more knowledge to make informed decisions. Remember, Buffett didn’t get to where he is now overnight. It took decades of investing. Be like Buffett.

Autopilot

Now more than ever, there are so many tools available to people that allow for them to automate their saving and investing. This is great if you are inexperienced, not overly disciplined, or do not want to actively watch and manage your investments. Most of us probably should be putting our investing on autopilot so that we stay consistent and do not need to actively make numerous frequent decisions. Ask around and learn more about what your friends and family have been using to put their investing on autopilot. Get started today, stay saving, investing, and growing your money.

Tying it all together

Investing is all about the time in the market, not market timing. Take the long view. You will not be rich tomorrow. Set yourself up to make a consistent investment that is manageable and goes almost unnoticed (think of your 401k). Thinking long term is tough, but remember that there is a lot of potential over time. Be consistent and be patient. Determine what your goals are, your risk tolerance, and what fund(s) make sense for you. Then set yourself on autopilot with automatic transfers and investing according to your preferences.

April is National Financial Literacy Month

This month-long campaign highlights the importance of financial literacy and reminds citizens how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. 

Morgan Franklin Fellowship’s signature program, Standards of Financial Literacy, has helped hundreds to learn the concepts, rules and vocabulary of money, finance and banking. This robust curriculum is adapted from the National Standards for Financial Literacy, developed by the Council for Economic Education. This free curriculum is available to both individuals and to organizations wishing to empower those with whom they work. 

Upon successful completion of the Standards of Financial Literacy program, participants become MFF Fellows. MFF Fellows have access to additional MFF courses and opportunities for mentoring, networking, internships and participation in real-world projects. These are the opportunities which support MFF Fellows as they continue on their personal financial success journey.

If you would like to learn more about our programs, please email us.

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