The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Investors
1. Be Proactive
Being proactive is the number one priority for successful investing. As an investor you need to take an interest in, and be aware of, your finances. This is particularly true for women or couples where one partner may be the financial “expert” in the relationship. Simply attending meetings with accountants and/or financial advisors, and knowing where the financial documents are located and how to access them, goes a long way to staying on top of things.
2. Begin with the end in Mind
What are your financial goals? How do you envision your retirement years? It’s important to have at least some idea of what your money is working towards as you near retirement. Here are some questions to consider right now: Where will you live when you retire? What hobbies will you engage in? Will you travel a lot to see your family and children? Just thinking about these questions will help you envision and plan for the types of expenses you’ll have in retirement.
3. Put First Things First
All too often peoples’ initial obstacle to financial planning is simply getting started. It can be overwhelming knowing that in an ideal world you should be setting up and funding a retirement plan, a savings plan, as well as an emergency fund. If there is any one thing you should do now, it’s set up a retirement account. Two critical reasons you want to maximize your contributions to your retirement plans are; you reduce your tax liability and you save. And while people are often worried about funding college plans, in actuality you can access your IRA funds to pay for your kid’s college education.
4. Think Win-Win
Dividend stocks are a ‘win-win’ option because they offer the best of both worlds. You receive cash from the dividend and stock appreciation. Even in years when the market goes down (and it will), with dividend stocks you will still receive that dividend payment.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Be clear about what you want and honest with yourself about your willingness to take risks with your money. Don’t be lured into taking unnecessary risks by other people bragging about all the big returns they’ve gotten on the stock market. Don’t forget that losses are possible too, and you may not be hearing the whole story.
Work with an advisor. An experienced professional will not only advise you on all aspects of investing, but keep you on track as well. An advisor is someone you can go to when changes in your plan arise, or when things get tough.
Peace of mind is the key to successful investing. Your stocks should be a reflection of your values and priorities in life because when you’re comfortable with your investments, you are less likely to make knee jerk reactions. When you’re happy with what you have, you won’t buy into the day-to-day mania of the markets. Chasing market movement will only destroy your investments. So pick a discipline that’s right for you and stick with it.