The economy is improving but consumers remain cautious. Even CEOs and billionaire media moguls feel the near future is fraught with uncertainty.
One media mogul in particular, Steve Forbes, chairman and CEO of Forbes Media, spoke on Wednesday in Palm Beach, Fla., about the hurdles the economy faces and how individuals can manage the myriad sources of risk in the world. Forbes spoke to a group of 500 business owners and investors about the need for simplifying the tax code, solutions to the health care crisis and monetary policy, including his prediction that the dollar would soon be linked to gold.
He also had some advice for investors as well: Save and take advantage of compound interest over time.
Joining him on stage was chairman and CEO of Northwestern Mutual, John Schlifske.
Investors hoping to retire on a handful of great stock picks were at the wrong event. It was actually a very empowering message in its simplicity: Save money and invest conservatively to preserve cash while it grows over time.
In fact, "the days when you could invest your way to wealth may be over," Schlifske said.
Whether or not those days ever really existed in any great numbers for most people is beside the point. The message was unfussy and back-to-basics: Develop and stick to a financial plan; save regularly and grow your wealth over decades.
Unfortunately, the biggest barrier to investing success for most individuals is the people they know best, themselves.
Giddy when doing well and morose when doing poorly, "emotions will get the best of you," said Forbes.
"Market timing is, excuse the French, a sucker's game. Put a certain amount away each month and compound interest will help you. Consistency is key," he said.
The Palm Beach, Fla., speech was part of the seven-city "Econo-ME" Tour hosted by Northwestern Mutual.