💡 Hold your own year-end review
We’re coming to the end of the year, a good time to pretend you’re a corporation and check your financial performance. Review your current portfolio and see if you need to adjust anything to keep your investments in line with your goals and objectives.
“Has there been a life event that changes the way you want your portfolio to work?” asks the president of a renowned financial group. A birth, death, retirement or a family member entering college can all have an impact on how you should invest during the new year.
💡 Resolve to learn something
If you’re one of those people who thinks, “I have no idea how bonds work” or “What the heck is an ETF?” it’s time to educate yourself.
You don’t have to be Warren Buffett to gain a reasonable working knowledge of investments and retirement rules.
Just choose a couple of things you know you don’t understand and make it a goal to learn something about them. For instance, you might want to look up the difference between mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, because if you think 2017 will be a good year for the stock market, it may be the year for putting some ETFs in your portfolio.
Or, maybe it’s about time that you understood the relationship between bond prices and interest rates.
💡 Know your tolerance for risky business
Say the market drops, and you look at your balance and it’s lower. “That’s going to happen,” says an investment analyst. If the mere thought makes you feel ill, imagine it really happening.
You might need to take some risk off the table. Branch recommends this rule of thumb to make your allocation more comfortable: Whatever your age is, take that number and use it as a percentage of your total holdings for safer, fixed-income investments like bonds.
💡 No risk, no return
But if you think investing in stocks is too risky, consider this: Staying conservative to try to avoid market risks altogether can be a losing strategy, too. People who stepped out of the market and were afraid to return after the recession missed out on substantial returns, says an investment strategist.
“The S&P 500 index has gone up by almost 13 percent in the last seven years,” as it says. “You shouldn’t have all your eggs in one basket, but that gives you an idea of the return you’re missing out on.”
Staying out of the stock market also boosts your inflation risk. “The value of your dollar goes down over time as inflation rises,”. Investing helps “your money (to) appreciate in value. If you just have money in a bank account you are not making any money on your money. Your money is losing value over time.”
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