The fourth quarter of 2018 served as a stark reminder that capital markets can reverse course sharply. But it also reminds us that any attempt to predict such episodes reliably is probably a waste of time and effort.
Investors who accede to market prices as the best estimate of value and who maintain portfolios reflective of their circumstances have excellent prospects for meeting their financial goals, despite these inevitable setbacks. With this in mind, we once again offer guidelines to help you stay the course.
• I will understand my own circumstances and formulate an investment plan based on my needs, not in anticipation of market trends.
• I will remind myself that investing is not a form of entertainment—if I have an urge to gamble, I will go to Las Vegas.
• I will stick to my plan.
• I will not attempt to pick winning stocks.
• I will ensure that my holdings are adequately diversified within each asset class I own.
• I will focus on minimizing my investment-related costs.
• I will stay abreast of changes in investment-related tax laws.
• I will not purchase any financial instrument I do not understand.
• I will ignore those who sell products rather than provide advice.
• I will ignore market prognosticators.
• I will take full advantage of my qualified retirement plans by making the maximum allowable contributions consistent with my budget.
• I will hold my least tax-efficient assets in my tax-deferred accounts.
• I will rebalance my portfolio infrequently, but at regular intervals regardless of the current state of the markets.
• I will not allow the price I have paid for a security to influence my future investment decisions—except for tax considerations regarding capital gains and losses.
• At year end I will harvest tax losses simply and without deviating from my target portfolio allocations, by selling and buying index-type funds within the same asset class.
• I will appreciate the simplicity of the AIS approach; instead of worrying about factors that are not within my control, I will establish my plan and turn my attention to enjoying life.
To read more, subscribe to The Investment Guide. If you are a current subscriber, you will see Download and View buttons on the bottom of the page to access the entire issue.
Also in This Issue:
Quarterly Review of Capital Markets
93 Years of Capital Markets Returns
Remembering John C. Bogle
The Deceptive Nature of Trailing Returns
The High-Yield Dow Investment Strategy
Recent Market Statistics
The Dow-Jones Industrials Ranked by Yield
Recommended Investment Vehicles
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