This article is from the How to Start an Investment Program tutorial, author unknown.
If you're at a point in life where you can begin to put some money away, investing can be an extremely rewarding experience, fiscally and psychologically, or a disappointing and frustrating experience. This is where you have to have reasonable expectations and understand the risks versus rewards of the market.
If you are a control freak, the market will drive you crazy. It can go up on bad news and down on good news. Or it may go up or down for no obvious reason at all. And although it can be influenced by outside forces, you will find that it's usually as temperamental as that dizzy blind date you had back in the tenth grade.
On the other hand, the stock market has a history of going up, over time, an average of about ten percent a year. For the last fifteen years, the average increase per year has been even higher. If you plan to be a long term investor as opposed to a short term trader, the odds are in your favor.
Personally, I get great satisfaction in beating the market averages and the high paid mutual fund managers. Warms me up inside. My only regret is that I didn't know ten years ago what I know now. If I had, I would probably be in a position today to put down my handpiece and walk away from day job altogether if I chose. Sounds like a good option to have. I'm not there yet, but I plan to stay fully invested in the years to come. And, if the market continues upward as it has in the past, I should be able to retire a lot sooner than most (if I choose) without having to worrying that my Social Security check is going to bounce.
Now that's an encouraging thought!