It’s hard to bounce back from a bad investing experience. Whether professionally or personally managed, a bad investing experience can set us back from achieving our goals, and in extreme cases, cause some to avoid investing altogether.
Here is a practical checklist to lay the foundation for you to have a successful investing experience. To clarify, when I say a successful investing experience, I mean having an investment plan that you feel comfortable sticking with long-term and provides you with the best chance of achieving your goals.
These five principals are a summary of the steps we walk all our clients through to develop a strong investment plan that is feasibly executable.
1. Cover Basic Needs First
This is the most important building block to having a successful investing experience. If our basic needs are not met, we will never feel secure enough to stay invested through personal or market turbulence. Make sure to review your income, expenses, AND your emergency funds to ensure you are sufficiently covered to provide for your basis needs. Having a sense of security is crucial to feeling comfortable enough to handle turbulence.
2. Know Your Why
Most of us have a general idea that saving and investing are important, but can we articulate why we defer a current gratification today for a later one? For us to feel like we are working towards something greater, we must be able to articulate what it is we are saving (deferring a current gratification) for. This assigns purpose to our investments with timelines and goals to achieve a reward in the future that is more valuable than what we could receive today.
3. Create An Investment Plan
With our basic needs met and a good understanding of our why, we can create an investment plan with realistic expectations to achieve them. Contingency plans should be included with the investment plan to guide us through unexpected personal or market events.
4. Keep It Simple
At all times, we need to keep our investments and our investment plan simple. No matter how good the investment plan is, we will never stick with something we don’t understand. This will lead to frustrations and a poor investing experience. Keep it simple and let’s know what we are investing in. That way we can stick with the chosen investment plan through good and bad times.
5. Focus On What You Can Control
None of us know what new laws and regulations will be enacted next year, when the next market recession will come, or when the next pandemic will hit. All we know is that history has a way of repeating itself, and everyone will be just as surprised as you are when it does. So instead of worrying about what we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can control. Sitting on the sidelines worrying about what pitfalls may be ahead will more than likely cost us more in the long term than the market events themselves.
Once you have a plan in place realize life will change. What mattered most to us at age 30 may not be what matters most to us at 60. Continually review your plans and goals and adjust your investment plan to fit your current circumstances. Remember, build your investment plan to withstand tough time. We all know this to be true, it’s not if things get tough, it’s when. And when it does, we need to remind ourselves to stick with the plan because we’ve already laid the foundation to withstand it.
If you like what you see here and want further assistance, reach out to us here at Van Hulzen Financial Advisors. We exist to help people like you make good financial decisions and achieve what matters most to you.
Written by author: Rhett Beal | Financial Advisor, Vice President
*The foregoing content reflects the opinions of Van Hulzen Asset Management DBA "Van Hulzen Financial Advisors" and is subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that the statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. Securities investing involves risk, including the potential for loss of principal. There is no assurance that any investment plan or strategy will be successful.