If there is one thing that every investor has in common, it is the fact that we all want to have a retirement free from financial worry. Our financial lives work through the same cycle of working paycheck to paycheck, finally being able to put some money away and then eventually having enough money to invest with. While we learned a lot during those first days on our own, the financial uncertainty isn’t something we ever want to return to, so investing for our retirement is absolutely vital. Here are a few tips we can keep in mind when planning out a path to our financial future.
Before we buy our first stock or invest in our first bond, we need to have an investment strategy in place. An investment strategy takes several key pieces of information into account to help us decide how we need to invest to meet our long term goal of being financially solvent for retirement. You will need to take into consideration exactly how much you have to invest, how much time you have until you want to retire and if you want to use your invested money for anything else (kids college education, buying a second home, etc) other than retirement. Once you have all of this information down, your stock broker can help you pick investments based on the amount of risk you need to take to meet your financial goals on time. If you have a lot of money to invest and you start investing at an early age, you can pull back on the amount of risk you take since you have plenty of time to accumulate the wealth you need to meet your goal. On the other hand, if you wait too long to start investing and you don’t have too much money to invest, you will need to ratchet up the risk, and the potential reward, to meet your goals on time. That’s why it is always a good idea to start investing, even if it is a small investment, as early in life as you can.
Once your long term investment goals are set and you have a path you can follow, you can then pick out your investments and watch them to see if they pan out. Being patient with your investments is extremely important since not every investment pans out right away. Some investments take weeks or even months to start turning the profit you were expecting and it can be hard to stand by and watch them sputter. A smart investor will keep an eye out for other investments that they can turn to in case their original batch doesn’t pan out. It is important, however, to screen all of your investment ideas through your stock broker first so he or she can tell you if you are making a good move.
Finally, try to ensure that you have a diverse portfolio so that if some of your high risk investments turn south, you don’t end up losing your shirt. Even if it is determined that you need to be especially aggressive with your investments, it is always a good idea to have a few low risk investments on the side to help balance out your portfolio. You can invest in bonds, blue chip stocks or blue chip-centered mutual funds to obtain the balance you’ll need.