“You’re saying I should invest NOW?” Jordan almost choked as he thrust the heavy weights over his head.
He and his buddy Patrick regularly solved all the world’s problems during their noon workouts. On this day, the conversation had turned to personal finance.
“Dude, the stock market is HORRIBLE!” Jordan said emphatically as he set his dumbbells down with a clang.
“Exactly!” Patrick exclaimed. “And down markets are the time to invest. Especially when you’re our age.”
“Oh right!” Jordan smirked. “I’m supposed to buy stocks when everyone else is selling…and prices are plummeting? That’s crazy!”
“Who cares what prices do tomorrow or even next week?” Patrick countered. “What matters is what those investments are worth when we retire in 30 years.”
He continued, not giving his friend a chance to respond, “My cousin is a financial advisor. A couple years ago she showed me this really cool chart. It was for someone about to retire in 2020. A person who only started investing when they were in their mid-30s.”
“Like us?” Jordan asked.
“Like us,” Patrick agreed. “Want to guess what the stock market was back then?”
“You mean, like, the Dow?” Jordan asked.
“Yeah,” Patrick said. “It’s a good general indicator of how the markets are doing.”
“Dude, I don’t know. I think the Dow is around 30,000 today. So, 30 years ago? Hmm, I’ll guess 20,000.”
“Try 2,600,” Patrick shot back. “Meaning, every dollar you invested back in 1992 would be worth about $10 today. Not too shabby, right?”
Jordan’s eyes got big.
“And guess what the Dow was in 2000?” Patrick continued.
“No idea. 20,000?”
“Nope,” Patrick said. “By 2000 it was only around 10,700. And it took a nose dive right after that. Remember the dot-com bubble?”
“Vaguely. Dude, we were barely in high school. We weren’t exactly focused on stocks,” Jordan said, reaching for his dumbbells.
“You’re not getting it,” Patrick chided. “Let me try this way: Think back to when the pandemic hit and all the gyms closed. Remember how you and I tried to buy some weights for your garage, but prices had gone up, like 5x? Well, now the gyms are back open, and you can buy a barbell for a reasonable price again.
“It’s like that with stocks. You don’t want to buy when everything is super high. You want to invest when prices are low. But the only time that happens is when the economy stinks and the markets go down. THAT is the time to buy.”
Jordan set his dumbbells down slowly. He looked up at Patrick and said, “Dude, you’re saying THIS is the time to buy?”
Patrick grinned, “Earth to Jordan. There’s no way to know the perfect time. But prices are down so yes. THIS is the time to buy.”
“But what about all those YouTube videos warning we’re on the verge of an economic doomsday?”
Patrick patted his friend on the shoulder, “I remind you there are YouTube videos of guys telling people, ‘Just rub my special protein-infused ‘power cream’ on your biceps and your arms will see MASSIVE gains overnight!’ Jordan, I don’t think we need to be taking financial advice from random people on YouTube.”
“Okay,” Jordan sighed. “Investing, even when things are rough, will probably pay off one day. But still, don’t you get depressed listening to all the bad economic news?”
“I turn it off.” Patrick said. “And I go work out instead.”
Jordan nodded. “That sounds like a plan.”
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