With the economic indicators pointing to the basement, it certainly doesn’t feel like the right time to invest. But if you’re in the market for some long-term investing, and time is on your side, then it couldn’t be a better time to get started.
Joe Terranova, On the Money’s resident investing guru, repeats a famous Warren Buffet line: You should be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful. Most people who had the ability to invest coming off the Great Depression in the 1930s made substantial gains so long as they were willing to stay in the market for a long time.
If you’re young, there’s no excuse. Equities have just gone through one of the worst periods of economic news since the Depression. The recovery may be slow, but you’re getting in at some real bargain basement prices now, Terranova says, and you’ll be well positioned to benefit from a prolonged recovery when it finally happens.
Treasury yields are at 50-year low, Terranova points out. You can hedge against longer-term inflation and there will always be episodes where inflation will rise at the end of 15-year periods. So if you have a period of 10-15 years of disposable investment time, you essentially have time on your side. Look at investment vehicles like municipal bonds and do what you can to hedge against inflation because it’s an historic opportunity to do so, he says.
Finally, just because oil prices have fallen off a cliff since their highs this summer, think about energy as a long-term value play. Does anyone believe than in 15 years the price of energy – oil, natural gas, everything – will not be significantly higher than it is today? This is one of the surest investment bets there is from a long-term perspective. Terranova recommends commodity index funds for first-time investors looking to get in on this action. Just remember to stick with it for the long haul, he says.