Depends on who is trying to sell you what!
Time in the market – this term is used when speaking about passive investments. It is a reference to the fact that over the longer term your investment will provide you with a good overall average return. Why? Because over the long term the price of investments generally go up. This term is most readily used by managed funds and sellers of index funds, no value is placed on activity or effort, the underlying belief is that you can not out perform the market.
Timing – this term is used when speaking about active investments. It is a reference to the fact that if you buy and sell your investments at the right time you will produce a far superior return. I.e.: By timing when you invest and when you take profits you will outperform. This term is most readily used by stockbrokers and real estate agents. The underlying belief is that by putting in more effort and research you can out perform the market.
So, who is right?
You are! Investing is about you, not about the investment adviser who is trying to sell you their product. Before signing up you need to decide how you like to invest, take a good look at yourself. Get this right and you will make money either way.
A good investment adviser will first spend time getting to know you, this way they make sure you invest in a product which best suits you.
Beware of the investment adviser pushing one product; it is all about them and little to do with you. Long term this will not be a good relationship.