Investing vs. Human Nature

Successful Investing for the Future Requires Self-Discipline Today

Article by Tracy Ann Miller, CFP®, CLU, ChFC

Photography by Mel Drake Photography

Originally published in OKC City Lifestyle

The word investment is traditionally defined as the “commitment of resources to achieve later benefits.” If an investment involves money, then it can be defined as a “commitment of money to receive more money later.” Who doesn’t want more money later?

Sounds simple enough, but many people fail to appreciate the value of time as defined here. When you think about time in relation to your life, does anything pop into your head? Close your eyes, think about time, and see what I mean. One thing I hear often is how fast the kids grow up.

For me, I think “WOW, it has been 24 years since Y2K.” As a numbers person, I was fascinated by the idea that in my lifetime the yearly clock would roll over from 1999 to 2000. As I aged, it got closer and closer but seemed like a very long time. It was inevitable that it came along just as predicted. When I think about it now, though, it seems impossible that it happened 24 years ago. How did time go by so fast?  The bottom line is that time is our friend when it comes to investing and you will find that it passes more quickly than you think.

The idea of investing money for future use was explained to me before the Y2K event happened, and I decided to try it. Now I have the experience of the value of time from a stock market point of view with my own investments. Simplistically speaking, the odds of having “more money later” by investing money now are statistically high, given time. So why is it that many fail to take advantage?

In my experience, there are three main reasons why the average person fails to invest their funds now for a larger payout later.

Fear of losing (or missing out on something else) – I believe this is the primary reason many people decide against investing on a regular basis. The media focuses on losses in the market. Losses make news. Wins do not. News reports give only the negative side of the story. A sound investment strategy is based on long-term research, a diversified portfolio approach and annual rebalancing to manage risk of current economic and political events.  

Lack of trust – Ever since the Great Depression of the 1930s, people have held a mistrust of the stock market. My thought on this is to look at results and consider … anything is possible, many things have happened, but what is most probable (and easily verifiable) are the facts: that the market can, in the long term, be trusted to provide money later for money invested now, given time and the proper approach as mentioned above.

Susceptibility to avarice – Avarice is a form of greed referring specifically to wealth and money. It’s not hard to find stories about fantastical losses experienced by businesses, individuals and even investment managers when the desire to “win big” overcame the discipline to have a diversified portfolio that is managed for long-term results rather than overnight wins.

Discipline is the key to calm in the midst of chaos when considering making an investment of money now to receive more money later.

A trustworthy investment advisor will help steer you in the right direction. They will help you understand how your fears and insecurities are keeping you from accumulating the funds you desire down the road—all in the amount of time it takes (or less) to see the year 2000 in the rearview window.

About Tracy Ann Miller

Tracy Ann Miller, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, is a founding partner of Credent Wealth Management. She works in the Oklahoma City area as a wealth manager providing investment and financial planning services for individuals, families and businesses.

Born in Troy, New York, Tracy Ann Wold grew up in Oklahoma and Texas and is an alumna of the University of Oklahoma. She has lived and practiced her advisory profession for over 30 years in the Oklahoma City metro.

Earning credentials in both the financial services and life insurance industry, she achieved her goal of becoming a Registered Independent Advisor in 2009. This goal became important after the financial crisis as more and more clients were looking for fee-only and fee-based advisors for the transparency and fiduciary responsibility they provide.

In 2022, Tracy Ann merged her independent advisory firm Miller Private Wealth into Credent Wealth Management to become a founding partner of a firm known for its outstanding commitment to the client experience and investment management.

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