When it comes to which direction investors around the nation should take, many believe that decision has largely been based upon emotion. Research done last summer cast doubt on this belief, and found that the majority of people make their investment decisions based on what they think the future for stocks will hold. With the current economic climate this country is in, many more people are unsure about which direction to take with their investments.
“There is much more to successful investing than simply being emotional or trying to predict a stock’s long-term success,” explains Brad Glickman, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM Professional, and President of Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates, Inc., a company that specializes in offering wealth management strategies. “It is more involved than that, and it is important to consider factors beyond emotions and single-stock predictions.”
Here are several tips for determining your investment direction:
· Don’t skimp on discovery. Talk with an advisor or professional who asks you a lot of questions about your current and future goals, your tax situation, your risk tolerance, etc. Your strategy should depend on your individual goals and circumstances—not some cookie-cutter investment that takes no time to recommend.
· Consider your time horizon for investment. If you are in the accumulation phase of your life, then you can typically afford to be more aggressive with retirement funds, but if you’re nearing retirement, you may need to start becoming more conservative.
· Identify liquidity needs. Consider the time horizon of each type of investment you are purchasing. Certain annuities or alternative investments don’t have daily liquidity, so you’ll need to make sure you won’t need access to those funds prior to what the investments allow without additional surrender charges or fees.
· Sprint or marathon? There’s a big difference in trying to make a quick profit with a lot of risk and being a successful investor over the long term. Making big bets can be detrimental. In most cases, your investment strategy should be a marathon, not a sprint. You can go to Vegas if you want to take big gambles.
· Stop using meaningless benchmarks. Most people are familiar with the S&P 500 or other major indices. They compare their investment strategies with these indices, not realizing that this is a completely inappropriate comparison since most of these indices only represent ONE asset class. For instance, the S&P 500 only represents Large Cap US Stocks—the 500 largest to be exact.
A fully diversified portfolio should only have a portion invested in large cap US stocks, and so comparing the overall strategy to this benchmark makes little sense. If you want to evaluate how you’re doing with your investments, see if you are on track to meet your investment goals. No index is a fair comparison to that.
“Those who invest are always looking for the best investment tip they can find,” added Glickman. “But the best investment tip is to work with a financial planning professional, in order to make informed and sound decisions for the future.”
Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates, Inc., has provided financial management strategies and investment services since 1981. They assist a wide range of private and corporate clients with everything from estate planning and investment to divorce planning. The company also offers professional women’s financial planning services, led by Samantha Fraelich, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM Professional.