Saturday, April 19, 2014

Investment Basics

The longer I invest for retirement, the more I realize that most people (me included) should make the program as simple, easy and stress-free as possible, then stick with the program.

Toward that end:

Doesn’t Matter: Your theories on tax policy.
Does Matter: Taking advantage of tax sheltered retirement accounts.

Doesn’t Matter: Developing tactics for every short-term market move or geopolitical risk.
Does Matter: Crafting long-term principles that can guide your actions through multiple scenarios.

Doesn’t Matter: Your political views.
Does Matter: Creating a comprehensive financial plan.

Doesn’t Matter: How cheap your trading commissions are.
Does Matter: Keeping your overall investment costs in check.

Doesn’t Matter: The inevitable market correction.
Does Matter: How you react when stocks fall. ...

Many artists I talk to would rather eat Vaseline sandwiches than spend time researching stocks and bonds. But the dirty little secret is, smart investing is simple and easy to implement. The difficult part is overcoming your lizard-brain emotions and fleeing from a sinking market at precisely the wrong time.

Which is why for many people, the Three-Fund portfolio -- Total Stock Market, Total International Stock Market, Total Bond Market -- is the best solution:

Does the Three-Fund portfolio seem overly simplistic, even amateurish? Get over it. Over the next few decades, the overwhelming majority of all professional investors will not be able to beat it."

-- Dr. William Bernstein, financial author, advisor

Many have a tendency to over-worry investments. But think about it. The fewer moving parts, the less time needed to think about what should be done. Three funds equal three choices. Easy.


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