There was a time, back during the onset of COVID, that it seemed like everyone was getting into investing.
Maybe we all had a little more time on our hands?
Maybe we had a little extra cash, thanks to some government handouts and/or fewer places to spend our dough?
Whatever it was, investing was back, baby.
Well, then it seems we collectively got a little bored.
A boom in the number of people investing turned into a bust.
It's a phenomenon that's being reported – formally and informally – right across the industry.
I mean yes, it sucks for the company I work for – more customers is always better than fewer – but that's not primarily why it sucks (sorry, boss!).
It sucks because of the incredible opportunity people are letting pass.
Again, not just the opportunity to join The Motley Fool (though that is, indeed, a wonderful opportunity!).
But more seriously, the opportunity to put compounding to work.
I've told you over and over again that according to fund manager, Vanguard, a hypothetical $10,000 would have grown almost 14-times in size to $138,000 over the past 30 years, if invested in Australian shares and left alone.
And the longer you stretch that timeframe backward, the more astonishing the growth becomes.
Which is why I feel like I'm failing my readers and members.
Because, given that incredible knowledge, I haven't been able to convince enough of you to start – or keep – investing.
Now look, investing isn't rocket science or brain surgery. It's not even rocket surgery.
But it's important.
And if I can use a medical metaphor, not getting people to begin or continue investing is akin to having a medical cure, but not being able to convince them to take – or keep taking – their medicine.
I mean, I get it.
And share prices are down. Who wants to invest when portfolios are shrinking?
Then you have to work out what to buy.
And some of the shares you buy won't do as well as you'd hoped.
Some might even lose money.
So… there's plenty of reasons not to invest.
Except that… none of the above is new.
We had high inflation in the 80s.
High interest rates in the 90s.
And recessions both times.
And yet, that $10,000 in 1993 ballooned into $138,000 in the subsequent three decades.
So yes, there were lots of reasons people would have given for not investing in 1993.
If you genuinely can't spare the money to invest, I'm not berating you, to be clear.
But I do want my readers to understand just what you might be missing.
Cast your mind forward to 2053, some thirty years from now.
What do you think you'll be thinking, when you look back to late 2023?
Don't you reckon you might be wishing you'd have invested more? And earlier?
I think that's pretty likely, to be honest.
You might make excuses. After all, no-one wants to be reminded of the opportunity they missed.
Of course, the best way to minimise regret is to do the right thing in the first place.
So… you can tell yourself that now isn't the right time. That you'll invest later.
That once the volatility dies down, you'll jump in.
That once everyone else is doing it, and making money, you'll join them.
But will you?
And by then, might share prices already be sky high?
I started investing not long before the dot.com crash. And, frankly, I was a rank novice, who didn't get good advice, and lost money.
But… I don't regret it — because I kept investing, and have almost 30 years of compounding to show for it.
That's the power of getting started.
That's what I think your future self will thank you for.
For getting started.
For adding regularly.
For investing sensibly.
And for staying the course.
Want some help? We'd love to help you get started, with education and recommendations.
The service I run, Motley Fool Share Advisor, does just that – with a heap of educational content, 'Starter Stocks', Best Buys Now and a new Buy recommendation every month.
I'd love to you to join, if you think that might help you start – and stay – investing.
But if you want to do it yourself, that's cool, too.
Either path, done well, will be well and truly worth it, I think.
Just, as the Nike ad says, do it.