By Paul S. McNulty, CFP®
Is investing an art or a science? If you want to succeed in investing, does it take a set formula or skill and talent? Either way, investing can seem intimidating and overwhelming. But you don’t have to just cross your fingers and hope for the best. Whether you choose to purchase stocks and bonds, contribute to a retirement account such as a 401(k), or even invest in real estate, there are rules to investing wisely, and following these 7 rules of investing will help put you on a path toward reaching your goals (hopefully without headaches).
1. Manage Your Emotions
Behavior is a major factor in investment success. By being aware of your emotions and knowing your behavioral pitfalls, you can avoid many potential investment mistakes caused by panic. Finances are an integral part of our lives and it’s difficult to separate them from our emotions, but your nest egg will thank you if you can learn to take your time when making decisions and stay strong and committed when the market feels like a roller coaster.
2. Stay Away From Predictions
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a crystal ball to predict where the markets will go or what the economy will do? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Don’t worry about what you can’t control, but channel that energy into focusing on the factors you can impact, such as the types of companies or funds you invest in and how much you save. On that same token, don’t make your investment decisions only based on past performance. Just because a mutual fund blew everyone away last year doesn’t mean it will thrive this year.
3. Invest For The Long Term
You may want to check financial tasks off your to-do list in a hurry, but remember, investing isn’t a race. It may take time for you to reach your goals, and if you go in with that mindset, you may see more growth and can celebrate the small victories along the way.
4. Control What You Can
It’ll be easier to stay committed to your long-term plan if you control what you can and let go of the rest. That’s why it’s important to clarify your goals, needs, and time horizon and design a plan tailored to your unique situation. Having an investment philosophy and strategy will give you purpose when hard times come. Your reason for investing could be to save for retirement, put aside money for college tuition, or save for a down payment on a home. Knowing your purpose makes the journey more meaningful.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Risk
All investing involves risk, but that is neither a reason to avoid investing nor a reason to throw all caution to the wind. The level of risk you take should correspond to your age, time horizon, and goals. Your portfolio isn’t the place for speculation or bets, and your plan should reflect your risk tolerance.
6. Start Now
Since investing is a marathon, time is on your side. The longer you allow your money to sit in an investment account, the more time you’ll have to reap the benefits of compound interest. Don’t save investing for the future when you feel more prepared. Each year you wait means you’ll need to save more in a shorter amount of time.
7. Diversify Your Investments
It’s drilled into us pretty regularly that we need to diversify our portfolios. Since investing is never a guarantee, you may want to consider investing in various formats and companies to help reduce your risk of loss. That way, if a company goes down or an industry tanks, you don’t lose all your money at once.
Rules To Live (Or Invest) By
Investing doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to scare you. If you want to pursue a positive investment experience and implement these tips into your investment strategy as you pursue your financial future, our team at Boston Metro Advisor would love to help. Contact us for a complimentary consultation by calling (781) 995-0253 or email me directly at [email protected] to start taking control of your money and stay informed about your investments.
Paul McNulty is the founder of Boston Metro Advisor with over 20 years of experience helping people navigate the ups and downs of the economy toward the financial future they envision. His education consists of a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Rhode Island and the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional designation.
Paul’s experience and education have made him a multi-faceted professional capable of assisting people with virtually all their financial needs. His services include every facet of retirement planning, from 401(k) rollover services and income planning to wealth management and estate planning. Paul has been active in his community over the years as a youth sports coach. When he’s not spending time with his wife, Cindy, and their two children, who are both recent college graduates, Paul enjoys reading, playing golf, and fishing. Learn more about Paul by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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.