The Long Game: Why Patience is the Ultimate Investment Strategy

Published on
June 13, 2024
investment strategy

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It seems that through all the ebbs and flows in the landscape of investing—there is one principle that rears its head time and again as the actual difference between success and disappointment: patience. This age-old virtue, so often passed over in favor of those quick returns, forms the foundation for fortunes, especially in stocks and real estate. Let's look at why patience is the cornerstone of successful investing, delve deep into how to build patience, and find the real-life benefits of adopting a long-term perspective. 

The Psychology of Investing

Investing isn't just about numbers. It's also a mental game. Our emotions can often mislead us towards hasty choices that harm our long-term goals. One major trap is unusually thinking in the short term. This is usually driven by biases like loss aversion (fear of parting with money) and FOMO (fear of missing out). The market swings post-pandemic highlighted this in vivid form: surges created a situation of FOMO, leading many to buy at peak prices. Whereas loss aversion was causing panic selling when markets again dipped—often at the worst possible time.

This calls for a good amount of discipline in fighting these emotional impulses. That is, setting realistic goals for investment, coming up with a plan that bears excellent consideration, and most importantly, adhering to that plan. This is not responding emotionally to market swings or running after the current hot stock. The disciplined approach will only review the portfolio regularly and rebalance based on the predetermined strategy—not based on fear or greed. In the end, education is vital to discipline. 

Knowing market cycles and long-term trends helps keep everything in perspective during those turbulent times. It's important to remember that market volatility is not an anomaly; it's the norm. Stocks, in particular, can experience significant fluctuations. We’ve seen this recently with the dramatic rise and fall of certain tech stocks. Emotional reactions to these swings can lead to buying high and selling low – the cardinal sin of investing. Instead, focus on "time in the market" rather than "timing the market." Statistics show that individuals who stay put for the long term often reap the most significant rewards.

As this tweet from InvestmentKage perfectly illustrates, the investing game is a marathon, not a sprint. The more patient you are, the greater the potential for reward. 

@InvestmentKage on Twitter

The Math of Compounding

The concept of compounding is often called the "eighth wonder of the world," and for good reason. It is the process by which your investment returns begin to generate their own returns, leading to exponential growth in time.

Let's illustrate with a simple example: If you invest $10,000 with a 7% annual return, you'll earn $700 in the first year. In the second year, you'll earn 7% on $10,700, not just your original $10,000. That means you earn more every year, even though you do not put in more money. Over the decades, this can result in enormous growth.

The most successful investors grasp the power of compounding and leverage it to create immense wealth. Think of the legendary example that is Warren Buffett, who for decades has plied a buy-for-the-long-term strategy in investing. Berkshire Hathaway's company has grown to such grand proportions through this strategy. His plan is very simple: buy quality assets and hold them long-term so that compounding will have its magic.

Compounding does not exist only for stocks, but it also exists for real estate. Property values have historically risen, and the rental income realized may be used to invest in subsequent property acquisitions, thus creating a circle of compounding growth. Historical information shows that despite these cycles, real estate, over a long-term period, has given stable returns and, most times, beats inflation.

It is good to note that short-term volatility is natural for the investing landscape. The stock market is associated with big swings now and then, but these short-term swings tend to smooth out over longer periods.

Patience in Real Estate Investing

The real estate market, like all markets, goes through cycles. Prices ebb and flow due to various economic factors, such as interest rates, employment levels, and consumer sentiment. Attempting to time the market perfectly—buying at rock bottom and selling at the peak—is incredibly challenging, even for seasoned professionals.

The recent pandemic is a prime example of the real estate market's unpredictability. Initially, many feared a housing market crash. Instead, we saw the opposite. Historically, low interest rates and a surge in demand for larger homes as remote work became widespread spurred a buying frenzy. This led to rapid price increases in many areas, catching many potential buyers off guard and highlighting the difficulty of timing the market.

Real estate investment requires an excellent level of patience since property value appreciates in the long term. It may have short-term fluctuations, but generally, property value appreciates with time. It becomes so in desirable locations where supply is insufficient for the growing demand. Inflation, population growth, and economic development contribute to this trend. 

Also, rental income makes patience in real estate even more rewarding. Unlike stocks, you will enjoy a steady income flow with rental properties. The proceeds from these may be used to pay off the mortgage, property taxes, and any other monthly expenses, and any surplus can be reinvested into acquiring more properties. While the average rent yield may vary from place to place and the kind of property you are invested in, it may form a good chunk of the overall returns on your investments.

Practical Tips for Long-Term Investing

Patience is essential in investing, not just the mindset; it should be translated into practicality. You can lay the foundation for long-term success in real estate by using a few of the following practices: 

1. Goal setting: Define clear, measurable, and realistic investment goals. What are you investing for? Retirement? Financial independence? A second home? Having specific goals will empower you to stay driven with your projects. 

2. Diversification: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your real estate portfolio by investing in different property types, locations, and investment strategies.

3. Risk management: Determine your willingness to bear a risk. What kind of volatility can you handle? What are your financial obligations? Understand your risk profile before investing, then choose between strategies according to your comfort level. 

4. Staying informed: Stay updated with the new market trends, economic indicators, and policy changes that may affect your investments.

5. The importance of a financial advisor: A qualified financial adviser can help you create a personalized investment plan, look at how you can maximize investment returns by checking and reducing tax liability and offer valuable insights during market fluctuations. 

The Bottom Line

Much like life itself, the journey of investing is a marathon, not a sprint. Patience is an active strategy that can unlock significant financial rewards over time. By understanding the psychology of investing and embracing the long-term nature of real estate, you equip yourself with the tools necessary to navigate the inevitable market fluctuations and emerge victorious.

In Warren Buffett's words, "The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient." By embracing the long game, you position yourself to receive this transfer, building a brighter financial future for yourself and your loved ones.


This information is educational, and is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security which can only be made through official documents such as a private placement memorandum or a prospectus. This information is not a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell an investment or financial product, or take any action. This information is neither individualized nor a research report, and must not serve as the basis for any investment decision. All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of capital. Past performance does not guarantee future results or returns. Neither Concreit nor any of its affiliates provides tax advice or investment recommendations and do not represent in any manner that the outcomes described herein or on the Site will result in any particular investment or tax consequence.Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting effects, you should consult appropriate professionals. Information is from sources deemed reliable on the date of publication, but Concreit does not guarantee its accuracy.

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