Can I Trust the Market?
For the first time in my life, I have enough money to start investing in something. At the same time, the market is at an all-time high, and there seems to be no way to lose lately. No matter what is going on in the world, the market is going up. Now, I can profit from it too. Except, I’m afraid to do so.
I came of age right when the Great Recession hit. I saw my friend’s parents lose a lot. Friends had to move away after houses were lost. Grandparents lost all their retirement money. Parents had to take a second job while others lost their jobs and had to look for any work at all that would have them. They were tough, scary times, and I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten over it.
I still have my suspicions about investing because I have suspicions about investors in general. I always think there’s the chance of just around the corner as if every guy with a suit who offers some financial advice might be the next Bernie Madoff. Am I being ridiculous or am I being cautious? I can’t tell.
For a long time, I didn’t even trust banks with my checks. I finally got over that a few years ago, for the simple reason I had way too much money to keep in a pillowcase (and I got robbed once in college, which made me hesitant to try to keep more than a bit in the house).
Maybe now is the time to face another fear and put some money down. I could dabble in something safe, say, where there’s little chance of losing money. Bonds are supposed to be good, right? I could get CDs. Maybe I should get the safest possible mutual fund.
I feel like I need face this now because there are other big financial points ahead that I will have to face later. For instance, I’m renting now. How much longer before I want to get a mortgage and buy a house? That too will require a leap of faith that the system is strong enough. To me, that’ll be the biggest leap of all. Just the thought of it reminds me of family friends moving out in 2009.
But I know, deep down, there’s no real way to avoid these things in life. If I want a successful life with a home and enough money not to have to worry later in life, I have to put my money in the places where it will do the most for me. That means, a little in the market, a little in the bank, and a little in a home.
With the market so high, it seems like now is the time to get over my fears. If I get in and make a bit, perhaps I’ll get over my reticence. At this point, I don’t even think about putting my money in the bank anymore. Maybe stocks and a mortgage will be the same way.