Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dow 20k

For investors and people who love numbers, today was a big day.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed over the 20,000 mark.  Is it a big deal? Well, yes and no.  What it should do is make people pay attention to the power of compounding and how investing in stocks is the best way to build wealth over their lifetime.

For some perspective, the Dow reached 10,000 in October of 2009. So, in roughly 17 years your money has doubled. That is just the average.  If you are a good stock-picker, your investment in The Home Depot would have gained about 400%, and your investment in Goldman-Sachs would have gained roughly 300%.  And, let's not mention Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Netflix.  They are not members of the Dow 30, but have gained roughly that amount in the same time period.  What I'm telling you is:  Get your money out of your cell phone bill, cable company, or your ridiculous car payment and build your future.  That's free advice.

When I was 25, the best thing I could think of was US Savings Bonds, which could be bought independently or though a payroll savings plan.  We tried to convince our employer to hook us up, but to no avail.  At the time, they were paying roughly 8% interest, which seemed like a big deal.  By contrast, savings bonds today are paying less than the rate of inflation.

In my 30s, buying a stock or mutual fund meant getting on the phone, speaking to a person, and spending about 15 minutes requesting to buy a hundred shares of Ford Motor Company.  Those days, happily, are gone.

Nowadays, apps like Acorns or Stash can enable you to invest as little as five dollars in Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) which are "market baskets" of stocks in similar sectors.  All it requires is a checking account and an app on your cell phone. Clickety-click - you've just bought a half share of the S&P 500, a Municipal Bond ETF, or another sector of your liking.  The sign-up and purchase takes less time than it takes to put gasoline in your car.  Ask me how.  I'm happy to help.

So, yes; Dow 20,000 is just a number, but it should provide you with some perspective.  It's a big number, and it's a number that should make you think about a few things:
A). How easy it is to invest in stocks today
B). How much more important investing is than buying something that will be obsolete or useless in a year
3). Get to work and realize that you are going to live to be a ripe, old age and you won't have anyone to depend on other than yourself for your financial well-being.

That's my free advice for today. I wish someone had told me that when I was 25.  But, would I have listened? 

No comments: