Too often with ASX investing, we get hung up on the small stuff. Here’s why you should always keep your eye on the bigger picture.
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We Fools love to spread the good word about the benefits and wonders of investing in ASX shares. But the reality is that investing can be a stressful process. We are (of course) using our precious personal savings when we invest – the hard-won fruits of our labour, sweat and tears. Putting these savings into something which we can’t predict the value of tomorrow or next week can be scary and discomforting.
And on top of that, there are literally thousands of companies, exchange-traded funds (ETF), listed investment trust (LITs) and other investment vehicles to choose from. And that’s just on the ASX. The UK, Japanese, Hong Kong and European markets are also open to investment from Australia. And let’s not forget the United States of America – the largest capital market by far in the world.
All of these choices can also be stressful, because investing is a game of opportunity cost. We all have a finite amount of capital we can invest in the markets. Thus, if we choose one company, say Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW), to invest in, we are also choosing not to invest in Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL). That works on a macro scale as well. I’m sure most of you readers either own your own home, or want to one day. But in order to buy a home, you have to give up the opportunity to sink that money into the share market.
It’s these kinds of choices that can put new investors off shares. And even not-so-new investors. If you’ve had some bad luck on the markets with your shares, it doesn’t take much to just make you want to wash your hands of the whole thing.
Some invaluable investing advice
But I’m going to share one of the best pieces of advice I ever got. When I was new to the investing game, I asked someone for advice over the whole ‘shares vs. property’ debate.
Their answer was remarkably simple, yet poignant: “It doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re doing something“.
It was so relaxing to hear those words. If you’re tossing up between a house or shares, they are both good options. If you’re wondering whether to buy an ASX ETF or a US-based one, it doesn’t really matter. You’re doing something, and that’s all that counts.
So don’t sweat the small stuff! Sure, some investments might do better than others over time. We all get share calls wrong every now and again. But each one is a learning experience. And even if you don’t like the investing process, there are other, no-involvement options to consider, such as ETFs or managed funds.
Now, I’m not promoting the idea that you can’t lose when you own any ASX share ever. If you’re a day-trader or someone who likes to ‘jump in and out’ of the markets, this advice doesn’t apply. But as long as you aim to invest your money with prudence and care, aiming for assets that stand to last the test of time, I don’t think you can go wrong. So don’t sweat the small stuff, if you’re doing something, you’re doing the right thing.
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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of COLESGROUP DEF SET and Woolworths Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. 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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