Yet another year has gone by. With 2023 behind us and 2024 on the horizon, it’s important to take stock, set goals, and make plans – keep steadfast in your quest for long-term financial planning and wealth management success.
In 2023, I shifted my focus to keep some core financial planning principles at the forefront of your mind. These principles are timeless and are a good touchpoint for whenever your financial resolve starts to soften.
Let’s look back at these timeless financial tips from 2023…
Financial Tip on Market Pricing
Let’s talk about the price of stocks. To make money in the market, you need to sell your holdings for more than you paid. Of course, we’re all familiar with good old buy low, sell high. But despite its simplicity, many investors fall short. Instead, they end up doing just the opposite, or at least leaving returns on the table that could have been theirs to keep.
You can defend against these human foibles by understanding how stock pricing works and using that knowledge to your advantage.
Financial Tip on News vs. Noise
In investing and life, information overload, aka “noisy news,” has long been a thing. In fact, before the Internet came along, I used to publish a hardcopy newsletter called “Rising Above the Noise.” Because even then, investors seemed awash in TMI (too much information).
If media noise was a problem back then, imagine the implications today. Which brings me to today’s Play It Again, Steve – Timeless Financial Tip #2.
To be a successful investor, it’s as important as ever to dial down all the noisy news you invite into your head.
Financial Tip on Tax Planning
I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate at least one post in my “Play It Again, Steve” series to everyone’s least favourite, but still significant topic: taxes. It’s a good thing there’s no tax on writing about tax planning; if there were, I would surely owe a lot.
Read about these six timeless techniques for reducing your lifetime tax load.
Financial Tip on Behavioural Bias
So, what’s really going on inside your head as you make critical decisions about managing your money? By considering this pivotal question each time you’re tempted to react to the latest news, you stand a much better chance of being the boss of your investment outcomes.
There are countless external forces influencing your investment outcomes: taxes, market mood swings, breaking news, etc.
Let’s look inward, to an equally important influence: your own financial behavioural biases.
Financial Tip on Evidence-Based Investing
If I could, I would grant amazing investment returns to every investor across every market. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. In real life, we must aim toward our financial ideals, knowing we won’t hit the bullseye every time.
That’s why I recommend evidence-based investing—or investing according to our best understanding of how markets have actually delivered available returns over time, versus how we wish they would. Our “best understanding” may still be imperfect, but it sure beats ignoring reality entirely.
Financial Tip on Investment Time Horizon
I’ve spent my entire career railing against the dangers of market-timing—i.e., dodging in and out of markets based on current conditions. But there is a time when “timing” of a different sort matters. I’m talking about your investment time horizons.
Your driving force for when to invest—and stay invested—is ideally based on the timing of your own spending plans, rather than external market moves. Let’s look at how to use your personal time horizons to successfully separate today’s spending from tomorrow’s future wealth.
Financial Tip on Retiring on Your Own Terms
Retirement isn’t the only reason to set aside current income for future spending. But since it’s usually the elephant in the financial planning room, it’s worth a Timeless Tip of its own.
Essentially, this is what retirement planning is all about:
By being thoughtful about how to save and invest toward retirement, you can best sustain, if not improve your ongoing lifestyle—especially once your prime earning years are over.
If you are walking the line between investing, spending, and your investment time horizon, check out these 6 ways to leverage lifelong financial planning, so you can retire on your own terms and on your own timeline.
Financial Tip on Fixed Income Investing
When’s the last time someone tried to talk you into chasing a “hot” Treasury bond run — NOW, before it’s too late!
Probably never, right?
Most of us recognize that’s not what fixed income investing is for. Bonds create stability; stocks and alternatives are where the excitement is at.
And yet, I often see people forgetting this timeless truth, or at least investing as if they have. Plus, to further complicate things, not all bonds are created equal. This can trick you into thinking you’re playing it safe … just before a big blow-out takes you by surprise.
Follow these 6 best practices for fixed income investing across all kinds of markets, whether rates are rising, falling, or in a holding pattern.
Financial Tip on Big Banks
There’s only so much you and I can do about life’s many surprises. Some things just happen, beyond our control. Fortunately, to make the most of your hard-earned wealth, there is one huge and timeless best practice you can control: You can (and should) avoid seeking unbiased financial advice from biased sales staff.
How do you separate solid investment advice from self-interested promotions in disguise? Here’s a handy shortcut: Are the investments coming from your friendly neighborhood banker? If so, please read the fine print—twice—before buying in. Due to inherently conflicting compensation incentives, most banks’ investment offerings are optimized to feed their profit margin, at your expense.
Financial Tip on Legacy Planning
Let’s face it: When families list their favorite financial planning projects, legacy planning rarely makes the cut. It may feel as if you’re putting the emphasis exclusively on death and taxes, rather than your lifetime pursuits such as building a career, pursuing your personal interests, stewarding your kids into adulthood, and retiring in style.
Then again, I believe the term “legacy planning” is misleading to begin with. It sounds so dry and formal—as if it’s only for uber-rich, multigenerational dynasties, or the tail end of your lifespan.
No wonder most people put off planning for it.
In reality, legacy planning can be worthwhile for almost anyone. And it’s not just for later in life; key aspects of it can help you enjoy a more enriched life today. Let’s explore the possibilities.
Looking Ahead to Financial Planning in 2024
The 2023 blog series, Play It Again, Steve – Timeless Financial Tips, provides some great principles for your investing and financial planning in 2024. There are more wealth management blogs that go back many years that are, more often than not, just as relevant today. So, be sure to subscribe to my blog for future financial tidbits.
If you’d like to start your financial planning journey or build and maintain your current wealth management plan, reach out. I’m always happy to help.
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