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Indycar champion Josef Newgarden on the big money mistake he made with Apple

Hold onto your investments

Josef Newgarden lives life in the fast lane. The Indycar driver is a two-time NTT Indycar Series champion as well as a brand ambassador for Forza Motorsports.

From the age of 18, Newgarden has been investing a portion of his winnings, but admittedly, not always in the wisest way.

In 2009, Newgarden bought shares in tech giant Apple with the belief that the stock would grow marginally over time. "It was a stock I thought would go a little bit, but I got out too quickly and missed growth up to 2019."

In the fall of 2009, Apple's stock price was hovering at around $27. Since then, it became the world's first trillion-dollar company, a feat reached in August 2018. Apple shares hit an all-time high stock price this past week, closing on Friday above $236.

According to CNBC calculations, a $1,000 investment made on May 1, 2009, would have been worth more than $13,000 as of May 1, 2019 — a staggering 1,200% return.

Over that same period, the S&P 500 returned just over 300%.

How mutual funds work

Newgarden now realizes that the key to investing is holding investments for the long term. Market downturns can cause panic among investors but on average the S&P 500 returns about 6% a year. In fact, in the last 20 years, the S&P 500 has produced an annualized return of 7.2%.

Avoid trying to time the market. Missing the top 10 days in 20 years can cut those returns in half to 3.5%.

Newgarden suggests only holding on to investments that you are comfortable with, and holding them for at least five years.

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.