Guest Post by Jim Huller
“The greatest thief this world ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large.”
~ Henry Wheeler Shaw, 1818-1885
When I’m asked what is the most common mistake in investing, I reply it is NOT INVESTING AT ALL. Too many people save or invest nothing, all the while watching from a distance the best builder of wealth on the planet – the stock market. Given what has happened in 2008 you might wonder if that’s still the case, and I’d say absolutely it still is.
For the person watching from afar, the market volatility can be unnerving. So the caveat to my first statement is that you need to start with a plan, but by all means start. Fear of making a mistake, costly ones at that, freezes would-be investors into inactivity. Paralyzed from a fear of failure is no reason not to try, and we all make mistakes.
Â In the book There’s No Such Thing As “Business” Ethics, John C. Maxwell recounts a story about a father who was trying to teach his son the consequences of bad decisions. Each time the boy made a poor decision, his father asked him to hammer a nail into a post. Each day that he made good choices, he was asked to remove a nail. In time, after much hammering and much pulling of nails, there came a day when the wood was nail-free. That’s when the boy noticed that the post was covered with holes.
In your everyday life you make mistakes probably daily “you’re human” it’s expected. I can attest that if you are going to invest your money in the market you will make a lot of mistakes as well, hammering lots of holes into your post. I would say that the old 80/20 rule applies to the success of your investments as well as seemingly everything in life. The 80/20 rule means that out of 100% of your gains (winners), 80% of that return will come from only 20% of the investment picks you make. That means that in reality most of your picks will not make you any money, or worse, will lose money. That doesn’t sound good on the surface, but in the capital markets there is a chance for the winners to make up for the bad picks and then some.
There are plenty of places to open an account, and now is the time. Over the course of the next few weeks and months we’ll be talking about what to do once you’ve taken the first steps of opening and funding an account. Personal finance is sorely neglected in our school systems, so check in here at Green Candy.com regularly for more help and ideas.
This is not a solicitation to buy or sell any particular security. Never invest more than you can afford to lose in the stock market.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.