As you know, I maintain a blog about investing in the stock market for Inc.com. The methodology is based on a sound, academic approach developed by Nobel-
prize winners and refined by financial industry pioneers over the years. In other words, it's got a lot of brain power behind it.
I'm happy to report that all that brain power has paid off. As the world stock markets have suffered horribly over the past weeks, I've not lost a single night's rest from worrying about my own portfolio.
Why? Has my Nobel-prize winning methodology hedged me against the recent world market declines? No. Does it have a secret formula for avoiding Wall Street's crumbling fortunes? No. Do I stand to inherit a trust fund? Sadly, no.
Just like many of you, I've watched my portfolio drop 30 percent, 40 percent, even 50 percent at times. However, not only have I felt fine during these crazy
market days, I'm even kind of happy about it.
No, don't call the looney bin and don't hate me because I'm beautifully at peace. Instead, let me share with you why I feel the way I do. My investing method, in place since March 1998, has some basic characteristics that turn adversity into advantage. These advantages rely on the same core asset: time.
Most people think that the best way to create a robust portfolio is to start out with lots of money ("it takes money to make money") or great knowledge ("In Cramer We Trust") but I know different. I know that if you have time on your side, the path to wealth is relatively straightforward.
First, I am a long-term stock market investor. This means that I've given myself decades to reap the accumulated rewards of the stock market. I started in 1998 when I was 28 years old. I'll continue to be 100% invested in the stock market until I'm in my 60s -- more than two decades from now. During the course of time, the crazy days of 2008 will seem like a distant memory. And frankly, I like a cheap stock market. The truth is, ever since I started my portfolio in 1998, stocks have always been to damn expensive relative to the value of the companies that issue them. I'm happy that P/E ratios have dropped considerably. As a long term investor, I look forward to 8 to 10 percent annual returns again.
Second, because I have a long-term time horizon, I'm a buyer, not a seller. So each month, I buy exactly the same dollars worth of stock. In a cheaper market, my dollars go farther. These days, every month feels like a great sale. I buy while everyone else hides and my ongoing stock purchasing strategy is being well rewarded.
Take these two together, and I'm a happy camper, investing-wise. I've got the markets right where I want them.
Now, making a living in this economy, that's another problem...
For all the details on my investing strategy, check out The Only Guide to Investing an Entrepreneur Will Ever Need.
LEWIS SCHIFF is the executive director of the Inc. Business Owners Council. His latest book is Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons.
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