Don’t ‘save’ for retirement! I’d invest in dirt-cheap ASX shares instead

A couple working on a laptop laugh as they discuss their ASX share portfolio.

A couple working on a laptop laugh as they discuss their ASX share portfolio.

Most of us have probably been taught that saving is a good thing. And it is. 

Having some cash stored away for that inevitable rainy day is a fundamental step in being financially independent. It’s important to have money set aside for when your car breaks down, there’s a medical emergency, or whatever other malady life can throw in one’s way.

The last place you want to find yourself when presented with an unexpected expense is the personal loan application desk at your local bank.

But just as importantly, it’s important to realise that savings are insurance, not a path to wealth. Whilst interest rates have shot up over the past 12 months, which at least gives investors some meaningful cash flow, cash still isn’t offering real (inflation-beating) returns. The top interest rate available for a term deposit right now is around 4.5%.

But recently, we’ve found out that Australian inflation was running at a hot 7.3% over the 12 months to 30 November. That means that the purchasing power of our cash in our 4.5% term deposit is going backwards by 3.3% in real terms.

As such, it is virtually impossible to grow one’s wealth using cash alone.

That’s why I’m turning to ASX shares.

Why invest in cheap ASX shares for retirement?

ASX shares are one of the best places to have your money if you wish to build wealth. For one, the best companies can keep ahead of inflation by increasing their prices to match the falling real value of cash.

But ASX shares can also give investors inflation-beating returns. Even an index fund like the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS) has delivered an average return of 8.54% per annum over the past ten years on average. That crushes the returns of cash.

The ASX share market has rallied quite convincingly over the past two months or so, which dulls the potential returns of investors just getting started with investing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of dirt-cheap ASX shares still out there. One sector I’m currently looking at is ASX 200 retail shares.

Rising interest rates have dampened investor demand for consumer discretionary companies like retailers. But I think this has left many looking cheap.

Take JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH). It’s currently sitting on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 9.54, yet has a trailing, fully franked dividend yield of 6.6%.

Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN) is looking even cheaper. It has a P/E ratio of just 6.64 right now, but with a fully franked dividend yield of 8.34%. I wouldn’t be surprised if these shares turn out to be market-beaters over the next few years at least.

So that’s why I’m not saving for my retirement. I’m investing for it instead.

The post Don’t ‘save’ for retirement! I’d invest in dirt-cheap ASX shares instead appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

Billionaire’s strategy for building wealth after 50

You may know, billionaire Warren Buffett made 99% of his wealth after his 50th birthday. He did this by continuing to buy stocks despite his older age.

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More reading

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has positions in Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Harvey Norman. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Harvey Norman. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Jb Hi-Fi. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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