The Value of Simple has been out for a month now, and as my first “real” book it’s great that my friends are still willing to talk to me about it. Most often though when I say it’s about investing, I hear some variation on this comment:
“One day I hope to have money to invest…”
I know I have an investing book to flog, but no, that’s not the right attitude at all. If you’re closer to 40 than 30 you should have some, or be really close to that point. Having money to invest shouldn’t be some far-off, lofty goal.
Maybe it’s an issue of perceptions: many people may see “an investor” as some old moneybags, banker-type character from the Monopoly board game, rather than everyday people like you and me who may have as little as $1,000 to sock away in a TFSA for the long term. Indeed, do a Google image search on “investor” and the entire first few pages are people in suits, followed a little ways down by old people smiling in front of computers. No one imagines investors as people with toddlers running around at their feet. But yes, they too may be (should be) investors, and exactly the target market who would be helped by The Value of Simple.
You don’t need a big pile today if you’re at the part of your life where those savings will start flowing in now — you’ll be investing that little bit, month by month.
If the savings aren’t coming in then given that it’s New Year’s Eve as I write this, it may be a great time to resolve to fix it.
Now of course, if you’re in debt then you’ve got to focus on getting out of that hole. Maybe aggressively paying down your mortgage first is your plan and it works for you, and investing outside of that may still be a decade or so in the future. But if you’re living right at your means, where everything coming in is getting spent, then no time like the present to fix that — you will need a buffer and long-term savings. That’s easier said than done of course, and I’m sorry for that, but the earlier you start the better.
I’m a believer in just-in-time learning — I don’t want to push the book on someone who’s still scraping by while in school, or dealing with debt after it, because it’s just not going to resonate at that point. But many people are (or should be) investors who don’t think of themselves as investors.