Why should I invest?

Why should you invest? The answer is very simple: to create wealth. And why would you want to create wealth? Well, to fund various financial goals you may have in your life like an expensive TV, foreign holiday, retirement, and so on.

The trouble is that most of us have a single source of income and there are various needs that are immediate, medium term and long term. If we move from one goal to the other with our accumulated savings, we would be left with almost nothing for our long-term goals. This is why it is important to not just keep money in the savings bank, but use it to make investments that will help you create wealth over a long period of time.

If you start your investments as early as possible, you will be in for a pleasant surprise. This is because time and compounding interests are a lethal combination that will multiply your wealth beyond your imagination over a long period of time.

Consider this example: Ram and Shyam are friends, both are 30 years of age. Ram invests Rs. 1,000 every month for his retirement. He manages an annual return of 12 per cent on his investments and succeeds in amassing a neat corpus of a little over Rs. 35 lakh at the end of 30 years. Shyam does nothing for 20 years. He suddenly wakes up 10 years before his retirement and starts investing Rs. 12,000 every month for the next 10 years. He also manages to pocket an annual return of 12 per cent on his investment. However, at the end of the exercise, Shyam managed to create only around Rs. 27 lakh for his retirement.

How is it possible? Ram was investing a measly Rs. 1,000 whereas Shyam was investing Rs. 12,000 every month. Well, it is possible because of the compounding interest. Some people call the eight wonder of the world because of its power to multiply money over a long period. If you invest in a disciplined manner and give your investments plenty of time, you can achieve most of your goals without much pain. For some academic interest, how much do you think Shyam will have to invest to create a corpus of Rs. 35 lakh? Well, he will have to invest around Rs. 15,000 per month for 10 years to create that kind of corpus.

If you are still not inspired enough to start your investment plan right away, here is a quick list of habits that stops you from being rich.

Waiting for the perfect plan: Spending months or years to come up with a fool-proof investment plan is not a great idea. There is no guarantee that your perfect plan indeed is going to be perfect. So, start right away.

Starting late: It is extremely difficult or almost impossible to catch up with someone who has started investing regularly much earlier. Even with a very large investment, you would find it difficult to catch up. Once again, start now.

Investing for short-term: Try to think beyond a few months or a year. You think of short-term investments only when you have short-term goals. Long-term goals need long-term investments. The basic rule: stick to debt investments for goals that are below three years. Invest in equity if your goal is five years away or longer.

Playing it safe: You can't build a large corpus with small investments in debt schemes. If you want anything substantial over inflation, you should invest in stocks. Get rid of the fear of stocks and invest in stocks for your long-term goals.

Looking for tips: Don't waste time looking for tips to get rich quick. Most of these tips would do exactly the opposite: rob you a chance of making money on your investments. If you have your basics right, shut out all the noise and stick to your plan. Take our word for it: you will be rich one day.

Trading is not investing: Getting in and out of investments, especially equity investments, is not a great idea. You will end up paying higher taxes on such frequent sale and purchases. It will also rob you a chance to make spectacular returns from your investments over a long period. Giving time to your investments is the key to creating wealth over a long period.