I talk to my clients all the time about the need to grow their wealth by investing in companies designed to generate profits for their shareholders, being consistent with investing and resisting the urge to take money out when the market goes through inevitable downturns.
A few weeks ago, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett crystalized this advice with an example that I think is worth sharing.
Buffett talked about the difference between investing in stocks and investing in gold. Gold is often considered a "safe" investment and one many people turn to when the markets are volatile.
Here is what he found:
If you invested $10,000 in a S & P Index Fund in 1942 (the year he began investing), your investment would be worth $51 million today.
If you invested the same amount in gold in 1942, your investment would be worth $400,000 today.
"For every dollar you could have made by investing in American business, you would have less than a penny of gain by buying into a store of value which people tell you to run to every time you get scared by the headlines," Buffett said.
This example perfectly illustrates why it is so important to invest as early as possible and remain disciplined about staying in the market for the long haul.
Your future self will thank you.