Countdown To Investing in the New Year: 10 Questions To Ask Yourself
Insights from experienced financial professionals.
If one of your New Year's resolutions involves enhancing and expanding your investment portfolio, look no further. In a true New Year's Eve countdown tradition, ask yourself these 10 questions to help review your investment plans.
10. What's My Investment Timeline?
Not every investment is appropriate for every timeframe. Someone who hopes to retire in the next few years might seek very different investments compared to someone who is just starting in the workforce. Someone investing funds in a young child's college account may want a different asset mix than someone establishing a family trust to benefit their children and grandchildren. Consider your goals and timeline before selecting individual investments for each account type, such as a 401(k), individual retirement account (IRA), 529, or taxable funds.
9. What Are My Financial Weaknesses or Blind Spots?
Another key part of investing success may involve recognizing—and controlling—your weaknesses and blind spots. If you know you tend to panic-sell when stocks go down, you may want to invest in accounts that restrict frequent trading or require a waiting period before transaction executions. Those who struggle with paperwork may wish to streamline their investment portfolio by having fewer accounts.
8. What Do I Want To Do With My Investments?
This strategy is another way of assessing investment goals. Knowing what you would like to achieve—whether a comfortable retirement, a new car, or a paid-for college education for your children—may allow you to work backward from that point and set relevant goals.
7. What Is My Risk Tolerance?
If you have an unlimited risk tolerance, you might not need to invest—instead, you might foolishly bet it all on the lottery. However, those not comfortable with that level of risk have available investment options ranging from the more stable to the ultra-risky. Finding an investment mix for your risk tolerance may go a long way toward easing frazzled nerves when the market takes a dip.
6. Am I Diversified Enough?
Another key part of risk tolerance involves diversification. Putting all your money into a single stock or sector, from crypto to energy to tech, may leave you vulnerable to volatility. Make sure that your assets are spread among various investments to avoid major swings in value potentially.
5. When Do I Sell This Investment and Why?
When you analyze specific investments and their role in your portfolio, it might be a good idea to consider what would cause you to sell the asset, such as a rise or drop in price. Perhaps a change in the company's structure? Whatever your reasons, articulating them may help you stick to your plan.
4. What if My Investment Becomes Worthless?
Many stocks that made up the S&P 500 and Dow Jones index at inception no longer exist. Diversification might help prevent one bad investment from wiping out your entire portfolio. Still, it may be a good idea to consider what would happen and how you would respond if the value of your investment dropped to zero.
3. Why Do I Still Own This Investment?
Periodically, you should review your portfolio to make sure everything you invested in is something you still want to own. If you are holding onto a loser and do not have any reasons to support continuing to own the stock, it may be time to sell.
2. Do I Know What I'm Investing In?
One question is whether you invest in something you know about or simply invest in what the media tell you. If you have specific knowledge of a particular industry, you may know better than others about whether an investment is good.
1. Should I Manage My Investments?
A typical investor might be unable to beat the management results of some full-time financial professionals. Unless you have the time, knowledge, inclination, and emotional fortitude to manage your investments, it may be worth considering leaving investment management to a financial professional.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual security. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing.
Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.
There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
S&P 500 Index: The Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index tracks the performance of 500 widely held, large-capitalization US stocks.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA): A price-weighted average of 30 blue-chip stocks that are generally the leaders in their industry.
This article was prepared by WriterAccess.
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