The once in a lifetime opportunity in finance

Don’t let it go to waste.

written by oz chen

get my weekly digest on psychology & money

In case you’re wondering by the headline, I’m not going to sell you on the idea of Bitcoin, whole life insurance, or dubious MLM programs.

Instead I’m going to offer a reframe that might light a fire under your ass to start investing:

The once in a lifetime opportunity you have, is to invest as early as you possibly can.

This is truly once in a lifetime because now is the youngest you’ll ever be.
If you’ve never invested until your 30s, you can’t go back to your 20s.
On the flipside, today‘s opportunity is yours to take.

You have the magic of compound interest to thank for that.

In this illustration, starting 10 years earlier means that someone puts in less half the money, half the number of years, and STILL makes 40% more money by the end of this period. Crazy.

Compound interest works best over long periods of time – something that the young have more than the old.

But here’s the key: the time you have now, you’ll never get back.

If you haven’t started investing…this is your wake up call. I implore you to start as early as you can. Every dollar you put in can double in 9 years (look up rule of 72).

It’s happened to all of us. There’s that important thing we said we’re going to do. We wave it off.
“I’ll take care of it later.”
5 years pass. 10 years pass. You wake up and decades have flown by.

Your friends who are no smarter than you are retiring early with millions while you slave away.
Not because life wasn’t fair to you.
But because your younger self robbed your future self of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Don’t just take it from me. I highlight quotes from Daniel Pink’s massive study on regrets:

  • “As people grew older, inaction regrets began to dominate. By age 50, inaction regrets were twice as common as action regrets.”
  • “Among those ages 30 through 65, regrets about career and finances were most prevalent – likely because, at that stage in life, opportunities were still alive in those realms.”

If you happen to be young, on the fence about investing, then I hope this inspires you to action.

This is ever more important when your brain is facing a sea of bad news.

Invest in your mentality

Optimism is the most precious thing someone can rob from you when you’re young.

Maybe you’ve inherited some financial beliefs and now have myths like “the stock market is casino” in your head. If you develop a negative, closed-minded view of money, that leads you to miss the biggest opportunity of your life. That doesn’t just hurt you in the present. You will also rob your future self of opportunities that only time can gift.

That’s why I feel so concerned for young people who feel hopeless and financially blackpilled. They’re right to feel that way, but feeling that way is not going to make them richer.

Beliefs compound.
Conditioning is everything.
It’s harder to change one’s mind at at 25 than it is at 35. (Just speaking from experience.)

So this turned out to be a another pep talk. You can tell me to kick it. But if you’ve stayed this long, know that investing is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it’s passing you by with every moment you wait.

Get started with my free guide on investing or sign up for money coaching.

liked this article? tell your mom, tell your kids


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.