With a new year inevitably comes new resolutions. One of the most important resolutions you can make to your long-term financial well-being are investing resolutions.
Investing resolutions don’t need to be complex, but they should be smart so they pay future dividends that will make your life more comfortable when you retire. After all, “building wealth is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Dave Ramsey, personal finance author radio show host and speaker.
The following are five key investment strategies — or resolutions — that can help to align your investment strategy so you can enjoy higher future returns.
Tune up your Portfolio
Like a car, your investments should be given a periodic tune up and the beginning of the year is a good time to do so, as well as mid-year. You can start by rebalancing your portfolio to market conditions and adjusting the percentage of stocks and bonds you invest in.
For example: A 50 percent stock – 50 percent bond portfolio three years ago would now be 55 percent equities/45 percent fixed income. If left alone for the past five years, a 50-50 strategy would now equate to about 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds. Tools like Motif Blue make it easy to automatically rebalance your portfolio.
Also, it’s important to think about “flushing out your engine,” or ditching the losing investments in your taxable account. You can then use those losses to offset gains in your portfolio. Currently, an example is some energy sector stocks, which have fallen as the price of oil has fallen.
Nearly half of working-age households in the U.S. have no retirement savings, according to the Financial Times. While a rule of thumb is that you should save as much as you can for retirement, many financial planners recommend that you save 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement, starting in your 20s.
Taking advantage of an employer’s retirement plan can certainly help in reaching this goal, as you can set for automatic deductions and take advantage of employer contributions. If you aren’t sure if you’re meeting your retirement target, check out this online calculator.
When it comes to investment returns, research suggests the less an investment costs, the more likely it is to outperform. The reason being, every 1 percent less you pay in fees equates to 1 percent higher return, for the length of the investment. You can use this investment fee calculator to determine the fees you pay on investments.
Today, it’s not uncommon for people to have multiple IRAs and investment accounts, with multiple companies. Having such a dispersed investment portfolio can make it more challenging to monitor your investments and make changes to your portfolio.
Here are some ways to simplify:
- Roll over old 401(k)s into your current 401(k) or an IRA.
- Move all investment accounts to a single company (beware taxes)
- Use automated tools to track your portfolio
Explore International Markets
Many American’s don’t see international funds as an essential part of an investment portfolio. Yet international investing helps to diversify your investments and are likely to increase returns.
It is widely considered that we are in the midst of a global economic recovery, which, if true, means that investing in international markets should yield a nice return on investment. Plus, investing research has consistently found that investors have better long-term outcomes when they diversify. Diversification can happen among asset classes, industries, company sizes, and orientation between value stocks and growth stocks. It’s also not smart to have more than fifty percent of equities in any one country, in case of a crash.
These investment resolutions are a good way to start your new year on the right track. It’s never too late to start investing and it’s always wise to allocate some time to checking in on your investments. Any time you invest toward your personal finance now will certainly deliver a higher return on your investment into the future.
International investments involve additional risks you should be aware of, which include differences in financial accounting standards, currency fluctuations, political instability, foreign taxes and regulations, news that can trigger volatile conditions, and the potential for illiquid markets.