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…
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 … Following are 6 best practices for fixed income investing across all kinds of markets, whether rates are rising, falling, or in a holding pattern.
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. Following are 6 ways to leverage lifelong financial planning, so you can retire on your own terms and on your own timeline.
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. Let’s look at why evidence-based investing based luck-based investing…
There are countless external forces influencing your investment outcomes: taxes, market mood swings, breaking news, etc., etc. Today, let’s look inward, to an equally important influence: your own financial behavioural biases. When we make snap financial decisions that “feel” right but are rationally wrong, we tend to sabotage our own best interests. By recognizing these reactions as they occur, you’re more likely to stop them from ruining your financial resolve, which in turn improves your odds for better outcomes. Let’s explore some behavioural finance examples that you’ll want to prepare for…
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.
Whenever you try to buy low or sell high, who is the force on the other side of the trading table? It’s the market. The market includes millions of individuals, institutions, banks, and brokerages trading hundreds of billions of dollars every moment of every day. It includes highly paid analysts continuously watching every move the markets make. It includes AI-driven engines seeking to get their trades in nanoseconds ahead of everyone else. And you think you can beat that? We believe it’s far more reasonable to assume, by the time you’ve heard the news, the collective market has too, and has already priced it in.
Have you been reading the headlines, viewing your investment portfolio, and assuming the worst is yet to come? Welcome to your painful crash course on what market risk really looks like—and more importantly, how it feels. Most investors say they’re ok living with periodic market risk, as long as it helps them achieve better returns over the long run. We accept (in theory) that tolerating the interim damage done to our own investment portfolios will help us meet our long-term financial goals. But that’s investment risk in theory. Since it’s been a long time since we’ve encountered an extended bear market climate, you may have forgotten or never known the reality of it. It may not have clicked then, when significant market declines happen, it is usually due to despairingly bad news … amplified by headlines screaming how things are only going to get worse from here. The reality is, when we’re in the middle of a storm of stuff, our behavioural biases make it very difficult to believe we’ll ever see better days.
Stock and bond markets plummeting in tandem, the war in the Ukraine, rises in interest rates, threats of a looming recession … You’re probably already well aware of the volume of news wearing us down. As I wrote to my clients, “the financial press has gone on a feeding frenzy in response, serving up heaping helpings of negativity upon negativity.” On many fronts, times are indeed disheartening, and we’re as worn out as you are by the weight of the world. That said, there are already way too many outlets cramming worst-case scenarios down our throats and crushing investment resolve. To offset a bitter pill overdose, following are a few more nutritious news sources to reinforce why we remain confident that capital markets will continue to prevail over time, and that long-term investors should just stick to their plan.
Chasing Investment Performance Results in Far More Losers than Winners Would you like to improve your investment game? Counterintuitively, you don’t necessarily need to master more fancy moves; it may be a more powerful play to simply reduce your biggest investment mistakes. It’s those false moves that usually cost you the most gained ground.