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The only investing (and dieting) strategy that works

New Year's Resolution GoalsBy now, your New Year’s resolutions are not so new. In the third week of January of this new commitment, a lot of people tend to give up or drop out on their goals. You may be feeling a bit sluggish, the consistent gym visits feel more and more like work, you’re not quite seeing the results of your diet you thought you would. You may not want to go back because of your sore muscles. But – the best diet strategy is the one you can stick to. And the same goes for investing!

 

 

Holiday Food

A simple plan can keep you disciplined

Back to food… consistently eating healthy is a constant struggle for me, as we just got out of what I call “The Holiday Eating Gauntlet.” I kept my weight where I wanted because I chose to eat smaller meals. I didn’t follow a particular diet such as paleo, or stick religiously to gluten-free (That’s a diet too, right?). In fact, I ate some things that were probably bad for me… real bad. But even though I ate bad things, I was disciplined in sticking to smaller portions. I tasted everything, but it was much less that I would’ve wanted to. Simple, right?

Over-complicated strategies: not always better

What I’m getting at is that the best strategy you can use for investing as well as dieting, or sticking to resolutions, is the one you can stay committed to.

This often means it’s a simple and straightforward strategy! I’ve seen investors try to over complicate things, constantly searching for that perfect or magical investment that will optimize their portfolio quickly. They don’t find it… just like the perfect diet, it doesn’t exist! So, they end up spending more in fees, taxes, wasted time, and wasted opportunity.

Frankly, many average investors can’t even achieve a normal market return! This is because he/she is constantly changing strategies or getting emotional about market downturns. For example, dropping stocks while the market is down and buying them when they rise. Emotions and timing – not sticking to a long-term vision, in other words – can help explain the poor performance of their investment accounts.

Financial StatisticsEven in an imperfect portfolio, sticking to the plan can be beneficial

Most research shows that if you invested in a US-based active mutual fund and stuck with it over the past 10 years, you would have performed better than the average index. So, even in an imperfect portfolio – if you stay the course — you would be more likely to generate better returns.

In short, good investing is just like good dieting: there is no magic pill to lose weight, nor is there secret stock that advisors have access to that you don’t! You just need a good strategy that you’re able to stick with. That’s the only investing strategy that works. (Well, and the only dieting strategy that works, too, in the end.)

If you have any questions about investing in these difficult times, make sure to contact a financial advisor to help you stick to your plan!

January 2019

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