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Chris Gardner, FMF&E Wealth Management, LLC, East Syracuse, NY
Start the year with promises worth keeping
When the new year rolls in, many of us take a long hard look in the mirror and resolve to improve our health. We all know that more exercise, more sleep and a better diet will enhance our energy level and reduce our risk of serious disease. But why stop there?
Financial health is a very important aspect of well-being too. Making a few fundamental investment resolutions can instill good financial habits that protect the comfort, security and happiness of our families.
Yes, keeping resolutions can be a real challenge. Permanently changing behavior — at the gym or in the markets — demands self-awareness, discipline and patience. Still, it’s worth the effort. As the new year unfolds, consider making these commitments to your financial future:
1. I will embrace the basic math of savings and investing — spend less than I earn, put money away in good markets and bad, let compounding do its magic and avoid credit card debt.
2. I will ensure my portfolio matches my long-term goals and objectives. I will adjust my portfolio when my goals change, not when the Dow has a bad day, a new IPO is announced or recession rumors start to swirl.
3. I will not invest based on forecasts, opinions or hunches — no matter how foolproof they seem. I accept that the future cannot be foretold and know that putting money on future events is gambling, not investing.
4. I will stop searching for tomorrow's hot money manager or breakthrough stock. I will put my trust in capitalism and its positive long-term expected return. I will not try to outsmart the market, but accept the return it provides.
5. I will not concentrate my portfolio in a few stocks or industries, as diversification reduces my risk in any economic or political environment. It is a friend I want on my side.
6. I will keep my cost of investing low, understand the expenses I pay and recognize the impact of taxes.
7. I will take emotion out of the equation. I will create and stick to a plan that demands few decisions that can be derailed by fad, fear, haste or greed. I will enlist the help of a wealth advisor to help keep me on track.
8. I will turn off the TV. I recognize that CNBC and other financial media offer entertainment, not practical advice. I will not let so-called pundits and the urgency of the 24/7 news cycle steer me into the weeds.
9. Finally, if I feel an irresistible urge to break these resolutions to chase a “sure thing” stock tip — after all, I’m only human — I will do so with a small play money account, not the core savings of my family.
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The opinions expressed by featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of the BAM ALLIANCE. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting or tax advice.
© 2013, The BAM ALLIANCE
Chris Gardner is President of FMF&E Wealth Management, LLC, an independent member of the BAM ALLIANCE.
Prior to joining FMF&E, Chris spent 15 years in the financial services industry with experience in investment portfolio management, securities trading and treasury management.
Chris holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University. He lives in Skaneateles, N.Y. with his two children. He currently serves as the chairman of the board for the Rescue Mission Alliance of Syracuse, N.Y.
Larry Swedroe recalls flash crashes as the S&P 500 sets another high.