Before my wife and I started our own business I worked in the investment industry for a number of years, which always allowed me insights as to how an individual would manage his or her investment portfolio. Some of these instances were great as it allowed me to learn something new to implement with my own portfolio; others were not things I’d recommend anyone to do. I learned over time, through both education and experience, some simple methods to help encourage growth in my investment portfolio that many overlook. While it’s easy to make investing in the stock market difficult, I believe that simplifying it will bring, generally speaking, much more success.
Spend the Right Amount of Money
One of the easiest ways to hinder your investment portfolio is through spending too much money. Just as I am frugal in many lifestyle choices, I am frugal with my investing. Do you like to invest in stocks? If you do, it’s vital to watch your commissions. Most online brokerages will charge in the $7-$8 range for stock trades. If you’re paying more than that, then you’re likely paying more than you should. If this is the case, then try negotiating a lower commission rate – you’d be surprised at what they can do for you. Is stock trading not your thing and you prefer to invest in mutual funds or ETFs? That’s great, but watch the associated expense ratio with them. By using a simple tool like Morningstar you can weed out funds bloated with fees and find ones that are lean in the expense department.
Tune Out the Noise
I admit it, I enjoy watching CNBC, but I take most of what I see there with a huge grain of salt. The reason behind that is it’s full of talking heads that are largely looking for ratings and know not one iota about your investment portfolio or your needs. Sadly, too many follow what the pundits suggest and end up paying in the long run. Investing in the stock market is going to be unique to everyone based off their needs, goals and life situations. Those that are able to stick to their own unique investment plan and keep their eye on the end game are those that will, in general, find more success with their investing.
Keep a Close Watch on Your Investment Portfolio
As I’ve said, each of our investing situations is different, though that does not mean that our need to monitor our investments is less important. While buy and hold investing has taken a beating in recent history I believe it still holds some water. The point is to have balance – not a buy and forget approach, nor watching it obsessively. The important thing that many forget is that investing should be taken with a long term approach as that will generally benefit your portfolio much more over the long term. What is key here is to find what works for you, whether it be weekly, monthly or quarterly – to find an interval that works for you and check in on your investment portfolio to make sure it’s where you want it to be.
What things do you do in order to breed success in your investment portfolio? How often do you look at it?
Image by 401(k) 2013 / Flickr