If you've been kicking yourself for putting off doing so many things, and you're thinking that it might even be too late to begin socking away short-term savings and long-term investments, buck up!
The nice folks in the science business have just announced that "dark energy" is not likely to destroy our universe for at least 30 billion years. (By the way, most scientists can't really tell us exactly what this dark energy stuff is, though it's thought to counteract the force of gravity, among other things. It also might grow over time. Unless it shrinks. Again, scientists aren't sure.)
But let's move on now to more comfortable ground: what this means for us investors. The news is basically good. It means that we have more time than we might have thought. (Our universe is apparently not even 14 billion years old right now, so it hasn't reached its midlife crisis.)
Here's what you can do, now that you have the luxury of lots of time:
- Invest in stocks for the loooong haul. If the stock market continues advancing at an average of 10% per year, in just 5 billion years, a $1,000 investment would grow to. well, a lot. In just 20 years, a $10,000 investment would grow to $67,275. And much more, if you were able to keep adding to your portfolio over the years. But perhaps avoid getting some pet rabbits. In only a few billion years, they may be taking up a lot of room.
- Consider socking away some money for your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, now that you're somewhat assured that they won't be prematurely extinguished by dark energy. Seriously, imagine how happy you'd be today to learn that 100 years ago, your great-great-grandparents socked away $500 for you. Growing at 10% annually, it would have become nearly $7 million. Let the power of time work for you and your loved ones. You can actually do more for your distant descendants now than you can for your immediate ones, with just a little money or a few shares of companies like Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT), PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), or Costco (NASDAQ:COST).
- Plan for your retirement and make sure you're saving enough and well enough for it. Let us help you find a financial advisor. Or consider taking advantage of our own inexpensive TMF Money Advisor service, which offers personal, one-on-one consultations.
- Now that you may have more time on your hands than previously expected, develop some new hobbies. Consider some innovative board and card games, for starters -- they're very popular with many at Fool HQ. Or drop by our discussion board Community (we offer a free 30-day trial), where you can follow discussions on everything from photography to hiking to television to quitting smoking to gardening to astronomy. Here's a full directory.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Pfizer and Costco.