Should I Move My Assets Into Individual Stocks All at Once, or Gradually?

In this segment of the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, David Gardner reads a fan letter he particularly enjoys, because it's not all about investing. David focuses on on point from the letter: Is it better to invest a large sum of money in the market all at once, or incrementally?

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Feb. 28, 2018.

David Gardner: We'll close this month with Feel Good Item No. 3. This one comes from Dr. B. Levy from Beth Israel, Newark. I think that's the medical center in Newark, N.J. Thank you for this lovely note!

"Dear David. First, I wanted to thank you for my first portfolio spiffy-pop. Yes, today's the day I've doubled my portfolio and it took about two-and-a-half years." Now before I go on, I do want to mention I think, here, Dr. Levy, you mean your first two-bagger or you've doubled your portfolio. The spiffy-pop, which you can google -- google "spiffy-pop" and you'll get to our page -- but a spiffy-pop is when you make more money in one day than you initially started out with. That probably will take a little bit more than two and a half years, but boy, will it be worth it.

And keep up the great work. That is a remarkable two-and-a-half-year run, and you and I should be pinching ourselves -- all of us, of course -- because the stock market has been so strong. It's going to be a rare two and a half years over the course of our lives where we could say that, but yes, we have lived through those years, and anybody who knows me as the market timer knows that I think the market is going up this year, for reasons I've explained in the past.

Anyway, you go on to say, "I've been a Stock Advisor follower for over a decade, but an active investor using Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers for only two and a half years. I'm so glad I've had the courage to listen to you and start investing, even when the market was up for a long time. I also wanted to thank you for your calm voice during volatile times, reminding us all to stay calm and think long term. Keep doing this. Much needed.

Second, I wanted to thank you for your podcasts. Not only a great resource for investing, but also day-to-day life, pearls of wisdom that have changed my life. Since starting listening to your podcasts," and here's a short list that just makes me smile. "I'm not wasting my time following the news daily. I'm less engaged in divisive political arguments. I bought some great board games to play with my wife and kids, and I've binged some great audio books, and more."

Dr. Levi goes on. "Now, a few questions for you. I hope you're going to address at least one of them." There are four, and we're really at the end of the time for this podcast. I'll briefly address one of them. They're all good. "Based on the little I know you, you would answer that if I enjoy investing, I should do it myself. If so, all in at once, or slow, gradual spread over the next couple of years trying to take advantage of market volatility?"

That's the heart of the question, and the heart of my answer, Dr. Levi, is that I think that you should be incremental. Don't put pressure on yourself. Don't make it a binary decision -- all in or not all in. I think the more you succeed with any approach that you're taking in life -- investing or other life approaches -- the more you should keep doing it and grow it. So, if you're having success as you have with your Motley Fool services, knowing that the market's been very strong, then sure, I think you could go ahead and allocate more to direct investing. Rolling up your sleeves with the rest of us as individual investors trying to beat the market. That's what we're doing in Fooldom and you know that very well.

So, yes, I think you could do more of that over time and some of us, like me for example. I'll raise my hand. I'm all invested in just stocks. And with Jeff Fischer, I tend to hold onto them, and I don't sell very often, so I'm 100% allocated to Motley Fool services, basically. But for some of us who are listening to this podcast, you haven't bought your first stock yet, and a lot of us are somewhere in between. I think my primary bit of advice, there, is be incremental.

You close by saying, "Thanks again for helping the world and me invest better and enjoy the process. Fool on! Dr. Levy."

Again, thank you. That was a delightful note to close on. And what I particularly appreciate about it is that it's not just about investing. That's never what this podcast has been about. I do love investing, and it is called Rule Breaker Investing, but to me investing is just one part of a life, a life well lived, and because I'm fascinated by other parts, I want to have guests, and I want to have conversations, and invite questions about those things, and we've done some of that.

We're always going to be focused on investing in Rule Breaker Investing and business, because those are such important things in our professional and financial lives, but the word that closed that phrase -- lives, life, thinking about how to live it better and me learning from you and you learning from me, I take particular joy in those shared sentiments. Thank you again, Dr. Levy!

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