By Jonathan Harner, CFP®
We all need to invest for our future, but knowing the right choices to make can be overwhelming for the average investor. Whether you choose to purchase stocks and bonds, contribute to a retirement account such as a 401(k), or place your money in real estate, there are rules to investing wisely.
While complicated investment jargon can get confusing, we simplify the construction of your portfolio by focusing on two things: 1) Doing what works for you, and 2) Focusing on what we can control. Read the following tips from our investment philosophy to put you on a path towards financial success so you can stay the course with your investing.
1. Prepare Your Finances
Before you begin investing, you want to ensure your financial foundation is solid. This includes paying off high-interest debt and having a small emergency fund of easily accessible liquid money available.
If you begin investing before you’re prepared, it can backfire down the road.
2. Know Your Strategy: Sprint or Marathon?
Once you’re financially prepared to invest, you may be ready to test out the stock market as a vehicle to enhance your portfolio. At Wichita Wealth Management, we do not attempt to predict the price of gold or the direction of the S&P 500. These options are likened to sprinting. If you think about it, sprinting will get you somewhere fast but it cannot take you far. We like to look at life and investing as a marathon because we want you to go far. When we make a tailored plan for your situation, we craft it in a way so you do not outlive your money.
That being said, if “sprinting” makes sense for your portfolio, it’s worth mentioning that the long-term trend of the markets is up. However, be aware that timing the market and picking individual stocks is not a good long-term strategy. There are exceptions to this, but they do NOT prove the rule. The best route involves owning and holding stock in high-quality companies as the ideal hedge against inflation.
3. Determine Your Investment Amount
Now it’s time to determine how much you will invest. You don’t need to start with substantial investments, but get in the habit of making contributions regularly. It can be as little as $100 a month going up to thousands of dollars per month depending on what you can afford. Once you decide on your amount, it’s imperative to maintain the discipline to stay consistent in order to reap the long-term benefits of investing.
4. Automate & Allocate
If you have a 401(k) through your employer, you’re investing! It’s advantageous that your investments are likely automatic, because when you don’t have to make those payments manually, you are more likely to be consistent. If the money comes out of your paycheck or your checking account without you doing a thing, you won’t have the chance to decide against making your investment.
Additionally, we encourage you to focus on the parts of investing you can control versus what you can’t. This includes strategies such as asset allocation and investing selection, which allows you to be in the driver seat of your financial road map as we determine the right mix for you.
5. Educate Yourself
Investing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Most people don’t get rich overnight, so you don’t have to make spur-of-the-moment decisions about your investments. Instead, take the time to educate yourself about the choices you’re making.
Also, don’t rely on someone else to tell you everything about investing. Even with a financial advisor giving you advice, you should have a general idea of how investing works.
6. Start Early
Since investing is a marathon, time is on your side. The longer you allow your money to sit in an investment account, the more money you’ll usually make. Don’t delay investing once you’re financially prepared. Each year you wait costs you hundreds and thousands of dollars. The interest you’re losing out on is essentially free money! Once you educate yourself on investing, get started. Your future self will thank you.
7. Diversify Your Investments
Have you ever heard of the phrase “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? Well, that’s especially true when investing. Since investing is never a guarantee, you want to invest in various formats and companies to reduce your risk of loss. That way, if a company goes down or an industry tanks, you don’t lose all your investment funds at once. Being broadly diversified across a range of asset classes is the ticket to long-term success.*
Investing requires strategic thinking, and by making well-planned decisions over an extended period of time, you can substantially enhance your investment returns. It’s essential to educate yourself, but seeking guidance from a financial advisor can also benefit your plan. A competent advisor can assist you in formulating the most effective investment strategy customized to your individual financial circumstances.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your investment strategy, we at Wichita Wealth Management would love to hear from you! Schedule an introductory phone call by contacting me at 316-722-1010 or email@example.com.
* Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.
Jonathan Harner is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner at Wichita Wealth Management, a fee-only, fiduciary financial advisory firm dedicated to helping their clients thoroughly prepare for retirement. Jonathan’s goal is to simplify the complex so his clients can experience confidence and peace of mind as they work toward and live out their retirement dreams. He specializes in developing and implementing tax strategies that maximize his clients’ money and builds a tax-efficient withdrawal plan for retirement. Jonathan loves finding opportunities for his clients to save money and is dedicated to continual learning and growing in his profession so he can provide solutions for his clients’ financial needs. When he’s not working, you can find Jonathan spending time with his wife, Annie, and their daughter, staying active in his church community, and participating in his two favorite (but vastly different) hobbies: CrossFit and Dungeons & Dragons. To learn more about Jonathan and how he can help you, connect with him on LinkedIn.