Can you Relax this Summer?
An Investment in Knowledge, always pays the best Interest—Benjamin Franklin
Most would agree that education provides us with greater insight, understanding, and choices.
However, you may not have realized that just a little bit of financial education can help you relax the rest of the summer and beyond. The good news is that you don’t need to have all the answers—you just need to know the right questions to ask!
It’s Really More About the Questions than the Answers
I have taught for many years to students on many levels from high school to university. (I was a German and Hebrew teacher before going to law school and working as an advisor.)
As a teacher, I quickly learned the power of asking great questions. Great questions can be asked by the teacher as a way to more deeply engage the student in the material, and great questions can be asked by the student as a way of deepening the classroom conversation. I would rather have a classroom of students who ask great questions than a class with students who “know” all the answers.
I also know that how I experience my day-to-day reality is based largely on the quality of the questions I ask. For example, your day will be very different depending on which of the two questions you ask yourself in the morning:
- “What can I do today to show my family and friends that they are greatly appreciated?”
- When is the Virus going to be over, and when can I get back to my normal life and why are all of these people driving me crazy?”
With the first question, your focus and attention are on the areas you can exert influence on and have a positive impact. With the second question, your focus will be on all of the obstacles, upsets and frustrations throughout the day leaving you feeling even more exhausted by lunch!
What are the Questions I should be asking about my Investment Portfolio?
One of my jobs as an advisor is to help clients focus on the right questions to ask. This is not always easy because investors are literally bombarded daily with messages coming in from all types of media trying to force them to ask the wrong questions. Trying to get them to focus on the wrong issues. Companies who push product over process do not want you to relax; they usually want to use fear and stress to motivate you to take an action in THEIR best interest.
In my experience, many investors are unsure about their money and their investment portfolio. They are uncertain if their investment approach is the best one for them or if they can really trust the recommendations of their advisor.
Some investors are glued to the media waiting nervously for any news that may suggest they need to make changes to their portfolios.
Others just give up and say this is just too complicated or there is no one I can really trust. They keep their money in cash at the bank or in the so-called “safe” investments.
To make matters worse, there’s an overload of information available. However, how does an investor know what information and details to focus on and what information is just hype and selling?
A great first step is to know the right questions to ask!
- The Right Investor Questions to Ask
In order to relax about money, you must understand the basics of investing. You need to know what you’re doing and why … not what the media and mutual fund companies tell you about investing.
You need to know the basics of how investing and the stock market actually work. You don’t need a PhD in finance to be a confident investor. You just need to know the right questions to focus on.
Here are 10 questions you need to ask yourself. (It’s a good beginning!)
- How much money will I need at retirement?
- What is my expected rate of return on my portfolio?
- What role does past performance play in building a portfolio?
- What role do insurance products such as annuities and life insurance have in my portfolio?
- What is prudent investing and how does it differ from traditional money manager’s stock picking and market timing, and use of historical data to build a portfolio?
- What are the costs associated with my portfolio?
- How do I measure the volatility in my portfolio?
- What is an Investment Policy Statement and how does it assist me during periods of upward and downward market volatility.
- How should I deal with tax and inflation issues during retirement?
- How do I manage and mitigate risks in my portfolio and during my retirement years.
- Investor Peace of Mind/Investor Relaxation Strategy
Once you understand the basic concepts discussed above, it will be very difficult to be misled. The answers to these questions are more intuitive than you may think. If you have a solid foundation of prudent evident-based investing, you won’t be easily swayed by the media, and you will know which recommendations you can trust.
In short, you’ll have confidence, and a confident investor is someone who can start to relax about money.