Time to Begin

Wow, there is so much to write on with so much happening in the world! It has really been a financial roller coaster for anyone following the stock market and global markets over the past two weeks. There are dire predictions and forecasts, really a lot of gloom and doom out there right now. I have to be honest however, for me, I have taken more of a “let’s see in a month’s time, or maybe three month’s time.” It is difficult to really give this crisis the weight that all of the financial “prophets of doom” are saying it deserves. I think that is because, even though I do believe that a correction in the market was absolutely necessary, I still believe firmly in the power of individual choices.

Once again, if you have been making wise financial decisions, with no debt, you are living within your means, and you are doing what God has called you to do… what do you have to panic about? I know that many people are fearful of the “trickle down” effect, but once again, since this crisis is mainly affecting the credit markets (at the moment)… if you have great credit because you are making smart decisions and paying your bills on time, then you are not really going to feel the effects. The people that this is going to affect the most are the people who really should not be borrowing money in the first place. And even if that is you, what this turn is telling you is: get your budget in order, live below your means, save aggressively, pay down debt, and when the market turns again you will be in a much better financial place, and have a better idea of what you can afford to borrow (if you still want to). And as history has shown, the market can turn very quickly…

It was just a year ago on October 9th, 2007, that the stock market reached its all time high at 14,279 and now a year later it has come tumbling down to close at 8,451 last Friday. People all over the world are panicking and pulling their money out of the market. In fact, last week investors pulled over $43 Billion out of mutual funds. Two weeks ago that number was “only” $6 Billion dollars. If you look at those numbers, it is easy to see exactly where the “crash” came from. It wasn’t based on value. It was based on panic. Fear has set in and people are taking staggering losses on their money in order to “secure” what they have left. However, if you look at market without the eyes of fear, you will see opportunity instead of pessimism.

In just one year the market has moved almost 6,000 points! Now, I think the 14,279 number was definitely based upon an inflated market, but I also think that the 8,451 number is a severely undervalued number. To me, it is the number of opportunity. Every investment book that you will read will tell you that you don’t sell when the market is low. In fact, it is the time to buy.

So I would like to suggest today, if you don’t have a retirement account… they are currently on a huge discount sale. If you can just control your fear and realize that you are buying a long-term investment, not one to micromanage with each turn of the market, then you can buy with peace right now that you are getting a great deal J This opportunity doesn’t come around often, and I promise you 10 years from now, you will so regret not buying in right now. I am not an investment broker, but I would recommend looking into buying into a mutual fund like the Vanguard Target Retirement Fund. They have a couple of different funds based on your age and when you would like to retire. The older you are and the closer to retirement, the more they limit your risk. It is a fantastic way to invest as a beginner if you have no idea what you are doing.

Of course, you need to follow the peace of the Holy Spirit, but just make sure it’s not your fear that is talking to you. These really are amazing days that we are living in, amazing in a negative way to the rest of the world, but to those who walk in perfect peace, they are also days of opportunity. Even if that opportunity is just a wake up call to get your finances in order, to aggressively pay down debt, to spend less than you make, and to start saving for your future. There has never been a better time to begin.