There is great unrest in the financial universe. Over the last year, events like Brexit and debate over trade policy have impacted world markets. The next disturbance in The Force™ is anyone’s guess. Like the rebels in the forthcoming Star Wars™ film Rogue One™, you seek a new hope. Below are seven reminders to help you reach a promising investment future.
You don’t have to be a swash-buckling smuggler. A moisture farmer from a remote desert outpost can make sound financial decisions toward prosperity.
1. Look to the setting suns.
In an iconic scene from Episode IV: A New Hope™, a moisture farmer named Luke Skywalker™ contemplates his future as two suns set. He doesn’t know it yet, but great trials loom just around the corner. How he fares will have everything to do with the preparations he has made. For your upcoming trials, consider these questions. Do you have an emergency fund? Are you on track for retirement?
TIP: Investing is all about planning for the near and far. You must be looking now to see what can happen later.
2. The Force will be with you, always.
Most of what you need to succeed at investing lies inside you. That doesn’t mean you’ll go it alone. Envision what you’ll encounter as the years advance and create an investment strategy to meet those demands. Ask yourself:
- How much can I contribute, and in which areas?
- What does victory look like?
- When would I like to achieve my objectives?
When fear for the future emerges, seeking advice is wise. In Star Wars, each Jedi Knight™ takes on an apprentice. All turn to master Yoda™ for guidance.
TIP: Navigate challenging times with the help of an advisor or representative at your financial institution.
Before any dangerous mission in Star Wars, the rebels come together to consider the next course of action. The strategy is laid out in detailed, incremental fashion. Difficult questions are asked. Consensus is reached. Regarding your financial plan, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your budget and increase monthly contributions to your portfolio.
“Schedule time on a quarterly basis to review your portfolio’s performance,” says Kevin Driscoll, vice president of advisory services at Navy Federal Financial Group. “It’s a great idea to involve your financial advisor in this process. A second opinion can provide perspective and help you identify areas for improvement.”
TIP: Your plans for the future tend to impact others, so be sure to communicate and collaborate.
4. Diversify your attack.
One of the most effective strategies in battle employs multiple fronts. In Star Wars, missions combine air and ground tactics. Each unit has a job. Investing also incorporates a “divide and conquer” strategy. Most experts recommend investing in diverse assets: stocks, bonds, certificates, real estate and more.
TIP: Diversification goes beyond investing in two or three trending stocks. To truly diversify your portfolio, invest in stocks and bonds across a variety of business sectors.
5. Stay in formation.
When your portfolio is tested, success won’t be determined solely by fight or flight. The extent to which you remain steadfast can be critical. In Star Wars, Jedi™ are trained to be mindful. They draw closer to each other when threatened. Remember no matter how poorly an investment performs this week, history tells us the overall market will correct with time.
“Rather than purchasing many shares at once, consider investing on a monthly basis. Allow your money to work smarter for you,” says Driscoll. “When the market dips, you can purchase more shares with the same dollar amount. When the market spikes, your owned shares increase in value,” he explains. This method of investing is called dollar-cost averaging, and it lowers the average cost of shares over time.
TIP: Avoid watching the market too closely. Resist the urge to bail too soon on an asset. Invest consistently, with the long view in mind.
6. Don’t go rogue.
In Star Wars, Darth Vader™ has it all. The Empire has built a vast portfolio of assets on his watch. He offers enticing rewards to bounty hunters who support his regime. Your mission in financial planning is to resist the ever-present temptation to go rogue. Don’t be seduced by the success of others. Don’t jump when a friend asks you to invest in his can’t-miss venture (unless his goals align with yours).
TIP: Record your investment plan in writing. This firms up the details. When tested, fall back on the document.
7. The saga will have many episodes.
Despite your best intentions and efforts, some investments could take a hit. Battles will inevitably be lost along the way. Some assets will succumb to the dark side of market forces. Remember investing takes patience and fortitude. Like most journeys, the story of your portfolio won’t be told in a single chapter.
TIP: Avoid making an investment decision when your emotions run hot or cold.
History shows the economy tends to correct and rebound from setbacks. Don’t be like Han Solo™. He didn’t believe in market forces at first. He struggled to manage the temporary obstacles in the way of his long-term mission. As we saw in Episode VII: The Force Awakens™ (and as early as Episode IV: A New Hope), Han didn’t take debt seriously. Collectors were after him at every turn. In Episode VI: The Empire Strikes Back™, his assets were frozen. Your destiny can be different. You don’t have to be a swash-buckling smuggler. A moisture farmer from a remote desert outpost can make sound financial decisions toward prosperity.
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