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Investing In a Volatile Market

Guest Blogger George Diaz

Investing In a Volatile Market

Ever since the election of Donald Trump, markets have been very volatile, hitting record highs one minute, and then experiencing massive selloffs the next. For this reason, it is imperative to know “how and where” when investing in a volatile market.

We are living in turbulent times.

Market volatility should be a reminder to regularly review your investments and make sure you have a diversified investment strategy that matches the overall risk in your portfolio to your personality and goals. Here are some guidelines for you to invest in an unpredictable market.

1. Stand firm: Crises happen on a regular basis and are usually of short duration.

Market crashes can be annoying, but history shows that the stock market has been able to recover from declines and can still offer investors a positive return in the long run.

In fact, in the last 35 years, the market has experienced an average decrease of 14% from highest to lowest during each year, but still had a positive annual return more than 80% of the time.

2. Be at ease with your investments

If you are nervous when the market goes down, you may not have the right investments. Your time horizon, goals and risk tolerance are key factors in ensuring that you have an investment strategy that works for you. Even if your time horizon is long enough to justify an aggressive portfolio, you have to be comfortable with the bumps you will encounter.

However, you should be mindful of not being too conservative, especially if you have a long-term horizon because strategies that are more conservative can not provide the growth potential you need to achieve your goals.

 

Attempting to enter and exit the market can be costly.

3. Do not try to time the market

4. Invest regularly despite volatility

If you invest regularly for months, years and decades, short-term crises will not have a big impact on your bottom line. Instead of trying to judge when to buy and sell based on market conditions, if you take a disciplined approach to investing, you avoid the dangers of market timing. Seize opportunities!

Bear Market Strategies

During a general downturn in financial markets as a result of economic uncertainty, investors rush and seek security in their investments.

There may be some actions to take while the markets are down, to help you have a better position for the long term. These strategies are complex, and you may want to consult a professional before making any investment or tax decisions.

1. Avoid positioning yourself in volatile funds or ETFs of complex nature, even more so during a full correction.

2. Say goodbye to the losers. Now is the right time to do a portfolio cleaning. If these stocks did not perform well in boom times, why would it be any different now?

3. Reduce your stock positions. If the market continues to decline, you will be able to go hunting for undervalued securities, because you will have sufficient liquidity.

4. Buy bonds. Debt securities can be great allies in the midst of bearish gaps in the market.

5. If the stock market continues to move down, try to avoid constant monitoring, as fear will make you anxious and often results in people making hasty decisions about their assets.

6. Taking short positions is one way to make money in a bear market, such as selling futures, betting on declines or helping to reduce your portfolio exposure to the market.

Guest blooger George Diaz writes for finance sites: sobredinero.com and Myfinancialwisdom.com. He can be reached at george@sobredinero.com or via Twitter @sobredinero1

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Tax Tips to Lower Your 2016 Tax Bill

Tax Tips to Lower Your 2016 Tax Bill

You still have time to cut your taxes — and make smart moves to lower next year’s as well. As a certified CPA myself, I am swimming through a pile of tax returns for my clients! I wanted you to have some good info on how to lower your 2016 tax bill, if you haven’t filed yet.  Here are some effective tips from SANDRA BLOCK, Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Most taxpayers approach the tax-filing deadline with a mixture of fear and loathing. But this year, there are reasons to be more sanguine. For one thing, because 2016 was an election year, Congress didn’t tinker much with the tax code. If your personal circumstances didn’t change last year, your tax bill probably won’t change much, either. And if you’re a do-it-yourself filer, you don’t have to get up to speed on a slew of new rules.

Because April 15 falls on a Saturday this year and April 17 is a holiday in Washington, D.C., you have until Tuesday, April 18, to file your federal tax return.

VIDEO: How to Prepare for Tax Season

Here are some ways you can still trim your 2016 tax bill, plus potential speed bumps.

Contribute to an IRA.

If you’re not enrolled in a 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan, you can deduct an IRA contribution of up to $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re 50 or older), no matter how high your income. You have until April 18 to make a 2016 contribution to your IRA.

Fund a health savings account.

You also have until April 18 to set up and fund a health savings account for 2016. To qualify, you must have had an HSA-eligible insurance policy at least since December 1.

Get credit for tuition payments.

The American Opportunity tax credit, worth up to $2,500 per eligible student for the first four years of college, is a valuable tax break for parents of college students.

Health care housekeeping.

President Trump has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but it was still in effect in 2016, so you’ll have to deal with it on your tax return. To avoid a “shared responsibility payment”—longhand for a penalty—you must prove that you had qualifying health insurance in 2016 or were eligible for an exemption.

Want to investigate these ideas  a little deeper? Additional details HERE

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Setting Your Financial Mindset, Five Ideas for Drastic Change

The Money nerve

Setting Your Financial Mindset

Money is a part of our lives, we all plan how to spend it, and we all plan to save it!

Today, we look at some fiscal challenges and offer tools for setting your financial mindset. Emotions and old habits can rule your decisions about money. Here are some challenges people have in managing their money and a few suggestions for shifting toward a new “money” mindset.

See if these issues sound familiar:

1. I Don’t Have Enough Money

2. I Will Never Get Ahead

3. I Don’t Plan; The World Will Bring Me Good Fortune

4. It’s Not My Fault; Nobody Taught Me

5. I Don’t Have Time to Budget

It is easy to drift on an endless journey when you have no plan, goal or destination. When you are ambiguous about the direction you want to go, cruising on autopilot will never result in the “real-life” successes you dream about.

Five ideas for making drastic change and setting your financial mindset:

Enough Money

Before you can determine whether or not you have enough money, you will need to know how much money you make. Many people will use their full salary to plan their expenses, but forget to consider taxes and social security deductions. Under-estimate the money coming in and over-estimate your spending.

Never Get Ahead

Focus on positive choices each month, and eliminate the resignation and depression that come from reacting to financial headaches. Choose how you want to delegate your dollars. Change the way you view money by thinking of money as a choice, not a dictator, in life. If you have $100, you have the power to delegate a third for saving, a third for eating lunch out 2 or 3 times and a third for bills.

The World Will Bring Me Good Fortune

Well, I am a firm believer in sending out positive vibes and seeing that energy coming back my way. However, I also know that when I have an action plan to support that attitude, I am more successful. It is no suprise that the people who plan their days and work the plan seem to luckier than everyone else! Set aside five minutes to write down the main focus for your day or your week, and set yourself up to your best advantage. No one can help you better than YOU CAN!

It’s Not My Fault

Take a good look in the mirror, you are the CEO of your life. Take a truthful look at your assets and your bad habits. Explore where you can make small changes that will move your life toward a more abundant mindset. Making intentional choices creates a feeling of independence and eliminates the need to blame others. Every choice you made in the last five years resulted in where you are today. If you are not happy with your life, snap out of the routine of non-decision-making. Begin making new choices that will give life to the dreams and goals you have.

Don’t Have Time to Budget

People are so busy, being busy, that they often mistake insignificant activity as being more valuable than a scheduled chunk of time for planning. It’s a bit of a paradox, but setting aside 30 minutes a month to review your finances and make a plan for the next month, can actually save you time and money. Just jotting down your monthly bills on an index card and slipping it your wallet, will help you stay on track. Dividing your spendable dollars into envelopes is another good idea for seeing where money flows.

We all have the opportunity to create the life we dream of, it takes a little faith, a plan and choices to make it happen. A goal is merely a dream with a deadline. Go for it!

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Destination: Celebrating a Successful Life!

prosperity-wealth

Being rich is not a destination. Fine-tune your success with targeted goals and conscious choices. Here is how to create and celebrate your life – the way you imagined it could be! 

SUCCESS consists of three things:
• Know what is available to you
• Know what you want
• Know what the next step is once you are successful

Being rich is not a destination. Each of us has our unique perspective and vision of what success means to us. What is your image of wealth and success? Can you visualize yourself in a prosperous place in life? Define what is most important to you for the next year. If you can “see” it, you stand a much better chance of creating it.

Some people value a good steady job as a sign of success; others may value more time with family, a big annual vacation, a new car for their spouse or saving to purchase a home. As you state what is important, you will be more aware of your daily activities and begin to focus your attention on actions that will make your goals materialize.

Pursuing a new path toward financial success can create unexpected reactions and results: you may get some pushback from friends, coworkers or family members. That is okay. You are not staying in the same comfortable path. You are evolving toward a new direction, and that can make others uneasy. Continue on your journey! Reap the benefits.

As you gain traction and reach your goals, be sure to stop and celebrate your life. Pause. Enjoy the moment. Don’t let negative emotions become roadblocks. Know that you can continue to move forward with intention and clarity. Cheers!

Here’s a quick video for you to reflect on. If you are looking for some new financial tools, be sure to check out these new online financial platforms and apps I have collected — as a resource for you.

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STARTING THE JOURNEY

3x3 STarting The JourneyHere are some tools to help you determine where you are financially. Learn what your credit score is, plan how much money you want place in your savings account and start a budget for all the important things in life.

Getting ready to buy a house? While it is always important to set intentions and visualize your goal, nothing will happen until you take action and get some momentum flowing. I always wanted to play basketball but sleeping with a basketball under my pillow and wearing shorts and a jersey with a number on it, will not make me a player! To play the game, I have to learn the rules, dribble a ball and practice making a basket. These actions will get me much closer to my goal.

Keep that in mind when your goal seems to be “just out of reach.” Implementing proactive plans and following up with the best action will always take you many steps closer toward the prize!

To help you have a healthy relationship with money and to learn new habits, we have placed numerous tools on the Money Nerve website. It is my hope that these tools will help you to determine how you are spending or saving your income and assist you on your financial journey. Please see the tools page on the #MoneyNerve website for more options.

Here are just a few:
Determine your credit score: https://www.creditkarma.com/

Explore how much your monthly payments would be for a house, depending on the money you have to put down on it and the amount of time your loan is scheduled for: http://www.mortgagecalculator.org/

If you want more house than you have money, now might the perfect time to bump up your savings and plan a budget to make your dreams come true: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/home_budget_calculator/

How to create a balance sheet to determine how your assets and liabilities. And as you purchase a house, learn how to determine what your equity is: https://youtu.be/mxsYHiDVNlk

And last, check out this video from Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com. She shares 5 principles to live a debt free life: