27 October 2005

Investing Inertia

In a previous post, I tried to motivate some of you to move "off the dime" and get started in an investing program.
Einstein is said to have called compound interest the "8th wonder of the world". Time is critical to successful investing.

One of my readers,
  • Infinitegtr
  • took me to task. He is an Attorney, obviously bright, and in that capacity has seen some shenanigans that scare him about allowing shysters to manipulate his money. He certainly knows more about that side of the investing equation than I do.

    But my post was as simple as I could make it.......too simplistic for my virtual friend. He's right when he posts at his blog that to really be successful investing, you should first get your debts under control. If you have family, it can also be argued that you should have an adequate term life insurance policy in place before dedicating any money to an investment. (I recommend shopping online for the best deal here too. I sold insurance for a while, and may blog on this later.)

    But Infgtr misses the thrust of my post. In fact, with his arguments, he makes my point. Inertia is the reason many of my contemporaries reach the point in their lives where they can see retirement around the corner, yet they cannot contemplate retiring because for one reason or another they didn't pull the trigger.

    (I need to repeat the joke.......)
    An old, devout Jewish man, Abe, prays to the Lord......"Lord, I have been a faithful servant. Now in my old age, please help me win the lottery."
    The numbers appear, and Abe doesn't win.
    The next week, he prays again, "Lord, I've been a devout Jew all my life. Let me be a lottery winner, so I can be comfortable in my last years."
    And again he doesn't win.
    The next week he prays again, and doesn't win.
    Finally he prays, "Lord, what must I do to get your attention and move you to help me?"
    And the Lord says, "Abe, you need to help me a little here. BUY A TICKET!"

    My challenge to you, in essence, is to buy a ticket!

    Excuses: "I have plenty of time to do that later."
    "It's too complicated for me."
    "There are bad people in that business that want to steal my money."
    "Right now I need to buy a 3bedroom, 4bathroom house for me, my wife, and my kid."
    And on, and on.

    Look. My recommendation was for you to get off your butt, be an adult, do some study, and get started. I still think that's good advice.

    Rehashing, if you can find a Mutual Fund with expenses less than 1% per year, that continues to earn 8% per year or more, (and I recommended one), do you care if there are expenses hidden in the fine print?
    Aren't results what are important to us?

    As I pointed out in comments to my post, experts in the financial industry are fooled every now and then. As a novice in such things, I think the only way to succeed in this game is to educate yourself to the extent you can, and take precautions to protect yourself however you can against being cheated.

    But you can always find an excuse to procastrinate, if that is what you want. And remember that "Can't", or "Won't", succeeds only under strange circumstances.

    Is the financial industry complex?
    Can you and I truly know what is going on there?
    Probably not.
    Can we take precautions and still end up on the winning end of the stick?
    If we can't, let's all vote Democrat and hope for true socialism immediately!

    Inertia is a killer in many ways.
    It stops people from taking care of their own health.
    It stops people with great ideas from starting new businesses, or patenting an idea that could make the rest of their lives comfortable.
    It stops them from taking steps that would keep them from having to worry about whether Social Security will be solvent when they are 66 1/2 years old.

    Educate yourself. Go read Infgtr's posts. But after reading, I would hope you understand that if you're not devoting the kind of time Infgtr is devoting to the subject, you need to protect yourself in some fundamental ways. My argument was, and is, that a solidly performing Mutual Fund with low expenses is best for innocents like you and me.

    Because Inertia will destroy whatever dreams you may have about how you want to live when you reach the Autumn of your life.

    "Buy a ticket, Abe!"


    Infinitegtr said...

    Oye ve!

    The ability to cut through the crap is one of the many reasons I love this man...

    Oleprairiedog said...

    I thought you gave sage and thoughtful advice. At least, I took that as your meaning.