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Plan Your Finances as You Would Your Workout
Shared by Strong Valley on January 24, 2023
Plan Your Finances as You Would Your Workout
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IN BRIEF
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You exercise to benefit from your sweat equity in the future, right?  The strategy of a good workout is to intentionally place stress on our muscles so that when a health problem arises, our bodies are in better condition to deal with the situation. You also need an investment strategy to accommodate unforeseen future events, such as market downturns.

Important Disclosure: Content on our website and in our newsletters is for informational purposes only. The information provided may (or may not) directly apply to your situation. We recommend that readers work directly with a professional advisor when making decisions in the context of their specific situation.

Waking up early in the dark mornings of winter to exercise comes hard. Once your workout ends, though, you often begin the day with the payoff of a tremendous energy boost. Can the same process apply to your finances?

If you’re like most people, you exercise for many reasons but expect to benefit from your sweat equity in the future, not just in the current moment. We will all encounter health issues at some time and the medical world assures us that we’ll deal better with problems if we get – and stay – physically fit. Preparation matters.

So, what does exercise have in common with financial planning and investing? The answer: Very few individuals prepare to invest, except maybe when selecting from choices in a retirement plan.

Or not: One study shows that in 2020 – in the teeth of the COVID-pandemic and perhaps the most volatile market year since maybe 2008 – most 401(k) retirement plan participants made no changes to their contributions.

Exercise Helps Limit Our Injuries

Getting back to the fitness analogy, exercise’s greatest benefits come from the stress we intentionally place on our muscles so that when a health problem arises, our bodies are in better condition to deal with the situation. Regarding investments, if you choose to go it alone, you need a methodical (and regularly visited) regimen for taking in and processing market data. You also need a strategy to accommodate unforeseen yet inevitable future events, such as market downturns.

Don’t let random financial news clips guide your decisions when determining how to act. For the record, you need not re-allocate asset classes or otherwise change your portfolio just because something in the market changed. Call your financial planner to discuss your concerns and get a better perspective.

You do need to be prepared to consider adjustments when the information dictates that conditions shifted, such as stocks increasing to a higher portion of your portfolio than you want.

Your Planning Routine

We call this an investment policy statement or some prefer the term “investment playbook.”  The playbook outlines your holdings and specifies how you intend to respond to change with a disciplined approach aimed at particular objectives – as opposed to the usually heated emotions most of us feel in a suddenly rough market.

How are your holdings doing against benchmarks such as the S&P 500 Index? At specifically what point will market shifts make you re-allocate percentages of stocks and bonds in your portfolio?

Your playbook also describes what you’re trying to achieve as an investor – pay for retirement or for college tuition, for example – and how you’ll react to market changes. You might plan to sell or buy only if the S&P 500 hits a certain number or invest in oil if the cost per barrel drops to a pre-set price. A well-designed playbook keeps you from panicky decisions or from freezing up during Wall Street roller coasters.

Your playbook needs to clearly document your investment information sources, the technology involved in your investing and why you bought a particular investment. Remember: Great stock or mutual fund opportunities may arise and shimmer, but if they don’t match your playbook, you pass.

At the gym, you can wander among the clanking weights or plan exactly how to invest your energy. You know which method works better. And you can enlist the help of an experienced trainer who knows more than you’ve learned and can take you to the next level.

Investing is no different.

The information contained within is believed to be from reliable sources. However, its accurateness, completeness, and the opinions based thereon by the author are not guaranteed – no responsibility is assumed for omissions or errors. The views expressed herein reflect our judgment now and are subject to change without notice and may or may not be updated. Nothing in this document should be construed as investment, tax, financial, accounting, or legal advice. Each prospective investor must make their own evaluation and investigation of any investments considered or of any investment strategies described herein (including the risks and merits thereof), should seek professional advice for their particular circumstances, and should inform themselves as to the tax or other consequences of any investments or services considered or described herein. Please see other important disclosures related to StrongValley.com

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