You really should invest. Now.

By the time people get motivated to invest, it'll probably be at the height of FOMO fever.

A couple sits in their lounge room with a large piggy bank on the coffee table. They smile while the male partner feeds some money into the slot while the female partner looks on with an iPad style device in her hands as though they are budgeting.

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One of the great advances of capitalism (almost what defines capitalism, really) is the specialisation of labour.

I don't have to grow my own food, build my own house, make my own shoes, build my own car and fetch my own water, because some of you reading this do one of those things for me (and others do different things for you, in turn). I get to focus on other things that I'm better at, and so do you.

The virtuous circle of specialisation and exchange – first by barter, then by money – has unleashed an incredible amount of human potential (and saved me from living in a house that falls down, and wearing boots that fall apart!).

It has raised our living standards enormously, and allowed people who otherwise would have been subsistence farmers to discover medical marvels, to invent technological miracles and to provide incredibly valuable social benefits like health, education and emergency services.

It's worth remembering that, when people want to overthrow capitalism. Oh, it has its faults, for sure. And I've long argued that we should fix them, quickly and meaningfully. But if you're going to replace capitalism, you'll need to come up with a better solution (warts and all). Good luck.

But I raise all this for a very specific reason – as a marketer, I'm a great investor.

We have a fantastic marketing team here at The Motley Fool; something for which I'm very grateful, because I think we have a story (that of the power of long term investing) worth telling, and it deserves to be told as loudly and for as long as possible.

(No, we're not the only option when it comes to long term investing. There are others – good and bad – and you can do it without anyone, of course. But I'm proud of the decade-plus track record of Motley Fool Share Advisor, and we try really hard to not only give investment recommendations, but also to help our members learn to become better investors. So I'm glad the team is out there telling Australians about us!)

So… marketing isn't my forte.

But I'm going to try.

And not for our business (it's not as if our team were worried for their jobs, but they'll be happy I'm not messing with their messaging!).

Instead, I want to put my marketing hat on for investing in general.

Which, frankly, shouldn't need much effort or skill (thankfully!).

But it does need some attention.

See, it wasn't all that long ago – 2020 and 2021 in particular – when every woman and her dog seemed to be getting into investing.

There was a little extra money floating around (thanks to government stimulus and fewer opportunities to travel or hit the shops) and tech companies (in particular) were flying high.

Everyone, it seemed, was making money, and everyone wanted to be an investor.

And, yes, good old FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out – was on everyone's minds.

And now?

Well, if the ASX was a physical exchange (it's not) you could shoot the proverbial cannon right down the middle of the trading floor and not hit anyone.

Frankly, as an investor, I can do without extra competition.

But as an investment advisor, and someone who wants more people to discover the incredible potential of sensible investing, it makes me sad.

Not only because people are missing out.

But also because by the time they do get motivated to invest – when everyone else seems to be making money – it'll probably be at the height of FOMO fever… right when prices will be near their highest.

Which… is as counterproductive as it sounds.

When was the last time you thought "Beauty, the price of petrol is sky high… time to fill up the tank!"?

Or, conversely "Bloody hell, petrol is cheap at the moment. There's no way I'm filling up today!"?

It would be silly, right?

And yet, when do people flock to investing in their largest numbers? When prices are high and the party is in full swing.

When do they tend to become disinterested? When prices are low.

I hope that comparison rings true.

The time to invest is when prices are low. Not when they're high.

The best time to invest is when no-one else is. When disinterest means that there's no froth and bubble on the ASX.

When no-one loves shares.

When no-one loves the companies you like.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't keep investing as share prices rise; in fact, the best companies of today have (almost) always been worth buying on their way to greatness.

But I am saying that waiting to begin (or add to) your investment journey, until everyone else is excited, is a sub-optimal way to build your nest egg.

Investing well can truly generate extraordinary wealth.

Your savings rate (how much cash you put into your portfolio) matters. A lot.

So do the returns you generate.

But the biggest contributor, for many, will be the duration over which you compound your returns.

Or, in plain speak, how early you start (and how long you keep it up).

I don't know what'll happen today on the ASX.

Or this week.

I can't tell you what'll happen this month or year. Or even next year.

What I can tell you is that Warren Buffett, who started investing at 11 years old, lists one of his greatest regrets as not having started earlier!

And while Warren Buffett and I have disappointingly little in common, wealth-wise (he's one of the richest people on the planet), we share that regret.

I don't want you to look back and regret not starting (or getting more serious about) your investing.

I don't want you to wait until the next speculative bubble, and then take silly risks trying to keep up with the Jones' (or your brother-in-law).

I want you to discover the incredible potential of investing.

I want you to start (and keep) doing it. Now.

Because while the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is today.

Please don't miss your chance.

Let me finish with just a couple of numbers.

Fund manager Vanguard recently reported that a hypothetical $10,000 invested 30 years ago, would have become $138,000 by June 30 this year.

Despite downturns, crashes, pandemics, terrorism, natural disasters, the GFC… and the list goes on.

We can always find reasons not to invest. And the journey can be bumpy.

Do it, anyway. Please. Don't wait for the (high-priced) FOMO.

I'm pretty sure you'll thank me later.

Fool on!

Motley Fool contributor Scott Phillips has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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