With the market making like a rubber ball lately and bouncing in all kinds of interesting directions, lots of folks are surely scratching their heads. And I suspect that may be especially true if you're a prospective investor, someone who, at long last, has made the smart financial decision to dive into equities only to find that the waters have suddenly turned seriously choppy.

My advice: Come on in. The water's fine.

That said
Make no mistake: Volatility is an inevitable part of investing, and right now, there are plenty of macroeconomic bogeymen on the horizon -- energy prices, interest rates, and a softening real estate market to name but three.

Still, if you believe, as lots of smart folks do, that a company's fundamentals -- and not various and sundry "top-down" trends -- ultimately drive stock price, Mr. Market is studded with keepers, long-haul overachievers trading at discounted prices.

Apache (NYSE:APA), Stryker (NYSE:SYK), and Legg Mason (NYSE:LM), for example, have delivered market-walloping gains over the 10-year period that ended with May, and yet each is currently trading more than 20% below its respective 52-week high. That's also true of Forest Laboratories (NYSE:FRX) and EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), two more companies that have created plenty of value for shareholders over a lengthy stretch of time.

Go Speedracer!
What's that? You're more of a go-go type? Not to worry: Mr. Market has marked down growth-oriented fare as well. For example, both Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) -- each of which boast five-year earnings-growth forecasts in excess of 20% -- run with stocks prices that are roughly 20% cheaper than they were at the beginning of this year.

The bottom line is this: If you're a long-term type (and you know you are, Fool), the market's short-term to-ing and fro-ing amounts to so much sound and fury: Ultimately, it signifies nothing.

Theory and practice
That's the theory we'll operate under at the Fool's soon-to-be-hatched GreenLight advisory service. It's designed to help you make the most of what you're making when it comes to both crucial personal finance matters -- such as avoiding identity theft and getting organized in advance of tax season -- and investing.

We think the service -- which will come complete with a feature-rich, members-only website -- packs quite a one-two punch. If you'd like to be one of the first on your block to give it a spin, no problem: A risk-free test drive is only a mouse-click and few days away.

In the meantime, try not to be distracted by the market's recent performance gyrations, OK? When you invest intelligently for the long haul, the best time to put your money to work is always right now.

Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service, and at the time of publication didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.