It’s New Year’s Resolution time. As a whole, we’re pretty bad at keeping resolutions; research shows that just 8% of us succeed! Nonetheless, I’m going to suggest for you a few investment resolutions, and I just know you can do this.
- Ignore expert forecasts. The investment gurus are slightly better than those with New Year’s Resolutions, but not much (this study says they are accurate about 47% of the time – a coin flip). Since you cannot trust the guru you hear on the TV, set your investment mixture with the help of your trusted advisor in a way that matches up your objectives and tolerance for risk.
- Buy low and sell high through regular allocation rebalancing. Over time, investments that perform well can take on a larger percentage of your allocation than the intended target. By setting a rebalancing system you are forcing yourself to sell the asset classes that performed best (sell high) and buy the underperformers (buy low). We review this for our clients on a quarterly basis to determine if rebalancing is warranted.
- Remember how you felt in 2008 when stocks plunged. The US stock market has been up now 8 years in a row. When markets rise it is common for investors to start taking on more risk. This can cause investors to buy in at high prices – right at market tops – just to see their values come down to Earth. Try to recall how you felt during the market crash in 2008. If that were to happen again, are you comfortable with your stock exposure as it sits today? If not, consult your trusted investment advisor and talk through the appropriate stock/bond mixture for you.
Good luck and happy new year!
Lance Gunkel, CFP®, CFA