The Right Place at the Right Time

by Jeff C. Johnson

How can an investor be in the right place and just the right time?

The summer before my senior year in college I got married. I had been living in campus dorms, and when I started looking for an apartment, I realized how tight the housing market was in the central Nebraska town where I was attending college. Apartments were hard to find and expensive when livable.

Through the grapevine, I learned that there were limited and usually unavailable married student housing near the campus. These apartments were popular and rarely vacant. Fortunately, I did get one, and the rent was $115 per month, which included utilities, a bargain even in those days.

Friends said I was at just the right place at the right time.

What my friends didn’t know was that I would stop by the rental office regularly and inquire about vacant married housing. Eventually I was there … at the right time!

In this example, and many other times in my life, I learned that being there at the right time required consistent, unrelenting effort to increase the number of opportunities to “be lucky.” To be in the right place at the right time!

This lesson can be applied to lots of events in life. Probably most of the readers of this short article can identify with applying for college, applying for a job, asking a future significant other for a first date, buying a home… the list goes on.

That list includes investing in stocks. A small number of trading days each year represent a very large percent of the gains of the stock market for that year. If you are a trader, buying and selling and changing strategies like “Willie the Weaver” in a previous post, the chances are good that you could miss a big part of the annual return by embracing a short-term strategy.

Build a diversified list of investments that suit your perspective, risk tolerance, and need for cash and growth. Sticking with that plan through up, down, and flat stock market days has historically been the way—and the only way—for you to be in the right place and the right time as a successful investor.