ANYONE who began diversified investment into global sharemarkets during the past 12 months is probably delighted right now.
Even the most conservative share portfolios have appreciated by more than 15 per cent. Some have done much better.
By contrast, someone whose investment journey began three years ago will be having a different experience.
Sharemarkets surged to a collective crescendo in September 2007 before suddenly correcting - a process which ended in a sharp and painful dive in March 2009.
People who were invested before the crash may  have seen their portfolios fall in value by up to 50 per cent before rebounding.
Their portfolios may still be in negative territory. But past performance suggests  it's only a matter of time before markets move past their previous highs, carrying well-diversified investment portfolios with them.
I like to use the analogy of the marathon runner when it comes to investing core wealth, such as your superannuation or other equity investments.
Most marathons include several notorious uphill stretches where the endurance  of athletes is pushed to the limit. But the whole process isn't like that.
There are also the gentle, downward slopes where effortless gains can be made - and  long, steady-as-she-goes periods of unspectacular but deliberate progress.
If you imagine a marathon track arranged in a circular manner, it doesn't matter where you, as an investor, start the journey. It's realistic to expect the same challenges, and enjoy the same benefits, as everyone else.
There's no way to avoid the occasional hard, uphill sections. But the right preparation - such as a properly diversified, personalised portfolio, the right coach in the form of an experienced, qualified wealth adviser and the right mental attitude  - will see you through.
What lies at the end of the marathon? A diversified share portfolio, along with assets like property and bonds, is among the most effective means of creating long-term wealth.
It's no get-rich-quick plan. But if you're after a proven strategy that avoids unrewarded risk and delivers long-term benefits, slow and steady wins the race.
Charlene Overell is now a director of G3 Financial Freedom Ltd in Tauranga. A disclosure statement is available free of charge. Contact her on (07) 571 5333 and mobile: 021 599 940, or email: charlene@g3freedom.co.nz