The beginning of a new year is a great time to revisit goals and objectives and to find out what you can improve upon from the prior year. It is also a time to reflect on various aspects of your financial and investment plan to make sure you stayed focused on what’s important. As a result, I have outlined several themes for you to ponder as you start 2014:
Resist the urge to change your risk profile. Don’t let the previous year’s strong stock market dictate your decision to increase or decrease stocks or bonds. If your financial goals are changing, that may be the only reason to make a change to your investment risk profile. Otherwise, stay the course.
Take retirement seriously. Make this the year to finally get serious about setting some realistic retirement goals. There is more to retirement planning than just running the numbers and contributing to an IRA or 401(k) plan. Planning for retirement is a challenging time for people so obtaining the help of a qualified and competent advisor will go a long way toward helping you map out a successful plan.
Rebalance your portfolio. After a strong year in the stock market and relatively weak year for bonds, this is an ideal time to review your investment allocation. If you are too heavy in stocks, then it may be time to reduce your exposure. Greed and fear are not your friends so pay close attention to your allocation and make adjustments.
Ignore stock market forecasts. Enough said!
Start an emergency savings fund. This is so very important and it never becomes apparent until you least expect it and need immediate access to cash due to a job loss, unforeseen medical expenses or other financial difficulties . This type of savings account enables you to avoid taping into your investments to pay for these unexpected expenses and allows your long-term portfolio to continue growing without interruptions.
Match long-term growth with proper investments. Accumulating capital over the long-term means that you must own investments that have long-term growth attributes. Not having adequate exposure to stocks (which are still one of the best long-term asset classes for growing capital) may impede your chances to retire comfortably. Having too much exposure to cash and/or bonds may be too “safe,” which can limit your portfolio’s growth opportunities. Remember “fear and greed.”
Bonds are not your enemy. But if you conclude they are, then remember what Michael Corleone said in The Godfather movie: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” As much as you want to dislike bonds, you must have a portion in your portfolio for the long-term because their attributes shine when stocks are not behaving well, which often happens periodically and unexpectedly.
What happened to the shiny stuff? Remember all those people that said gold would climb to $5,000 an ounce? You can’t find any of them around anymore. As a firm, we believe that precious metals and other natural resources can play a role as part of your portfolio, but they should not be the key drivers.
Don’t let politics interfere with your financial decisions. This one I can write pages and pages about, but I think you get the point. The political environment seems to be out of hand, but if you look back at history, Washington D.C. has always had political battles. Your personal political views should have no influence on your financial and investment plan, and you will be glad that you to put them behind you.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should provide you with some ideas to think about as you map out your goals for the rest of the year.
I wish you a happy and rewarding 2014!
Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making an investment. Please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.
Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation.