When to diversify, and when to consolidate

You have probably heard that diversification is a key to investment success. So, you might think that if diversifying your investments is a good idea, it might also be wise to diversify your investment providers. After all, aren’t two (or more) heads better than one? Before we look at that issue, let’s consider the first half of the “diversification” question — namely, how does diversifying your investment portfolio help you? Consider the two broadest categories of investments: stocks and bonds.

Don’t let your investments take a ‘vacation’

It’s summer again. Time for many of us to take a break and possibly hit the open road. But even if you go on vacation, you won’t want your investments to do the same — in summertime or any other season. How can you help make sure your portfolio continues to work hard for you all year long? Here are a few suggestions:
— Avoid owning too many “low growth” investments.

What does conservative mean for older investors?

If you’re a certain age, or getting close to it, you might hear something like this: “Now that you’re older, you need to invest more conservatively.” But what exactly does this mean? For starters, it’s useful to understand that your investment preferences and needs will indeed change over time. When you’re first starting out in your career, and even for a long time afterward, you can afford to invest somewhat aggressively, in stocks and stock-based investments; because you have time to overcome the inevitable short-term market drops. At this stage of your life, your primary concern is growth — you want your portfolio to grow enough to provide you with the resources you’ll need to meet your long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement. But when you finally do retire, and perhaps for a few years before that, your investment focus likely will have shifted from accumulation to preservation.

Free yourself of some investment-related taxes

Tax Freedom Day generally falls on a day in the later part of this month. This is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year, according to the calculations made by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group. So, you may want to use Tax Freedom Day to think about ways you can liberate yourself from some of the investment-related taxes you may incur. Of course, Tax Freedom Day is something of a fiction, in practical terms, because most people pay their taxes throughout the year via payroll deductions. Also, you may not mind paying your share of taxes, because your tax dollars are used in many ways — law enforcement, food safety, road maintenance, public education, and so on — that benefit society.

Time for some financial spring cleaning

Spring is in the air, even if it’s not quite there on the calendar. This year as you shake off the cobwebs from winter and start tidying up around your home and yard, why not also do some financial spring cleaning? Actually, you can apply several traditional spring cleaning techniques to your financial situation. Here are a few ideas:
— Look for damage. Damage to your home’s siding, shingles and foundation can eventually degrade the structure of your home.

What’s smarter — Paying off debts or investing?

If you’re just starting out in your career, you will need to be prepared to face some financial challenges along the way. But here’s one that’s not unpleasant: choosing what to do with some extra disposable income. When this happens, what should you do with the money? Your decisions could make a real difference in your ability to achieve your important financial goals. Under what circumstances might you receive some “found” money?

Reed Wilcox

Vote for smart investment moves

The presidential election is little more than a month away. Like all elections, this one has generated considerable interest, and, as a citizen, you may well be following it closely. But as an investor, how much should you be concerned about the outcome? Probably not as much as you might think. Historically, the financial markets have done well — and done poorly — under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Reed Wilcox

What can investors learn from roller coaster rides?

If you have an interest in looking up obscure holidays and celebrations, you know Aug. 16 was National Roller Coaster Day. As you know, a roller coaster is used as a metaphor for many areas of life — including the financial markets. As an investor, what can you learn from this thrill ride?

Reed Wilcox

Be aware of challenges to managing retirement income

When you retire, will your cost of living decline? Some of your expenses may indeed drop, but others won’t. Plus, you may have some new ones to consider. So, all in all, it’s a good idea to think about ways to boost your retirement savings now, before you’re retired. And once you do retire, you’ll need to be adept at managing your income.

Reed Wilcox

What can golf teach you about retirement planning?

If you’re a golfer, you know the joys (and occasional frustrations) of the game. But you might not realize that some of the lessons you learn on the links can carry over to other areas of your life — such as retirement planning.