We often speak about putting your dollars to work or controlling your money to avoid bad fiscal habits controlling your actions or pinching your Money Nerve, but today I would like to discuss training your financial garden to bloom. When you plant a garden, you want to nourish the seeds, water the plants, pull out the weeds and give it some of your attention every day. Let’s apply that same concept to your garden of dollars to enrich what you have by growing your finances with a definite plan, proactive actions, and being mindful about money every day.
Bull Market Jitters
With the stock market at an all-time high, during this nine-year run of the Bull Market, many people are now wondering and worrying about the best time to harvest their returns. Do you cash out of the stock market now and funnel the cash into tangible assets like real estate or gold (up 2% in the last two weeks)? Or do you ride the Wall Street Wave for as long as you can and hope your losses will be offset by the past five years of high returns. Don’t let emotions rule your decisions. We all know that day of reckoning is coming, but we just don’t know when it will happen. Continue to grow and train your financial garden, keeping up with the positive trends and weeding out the bad investments.
Rebalancing is essential any time you invest but even more so when the market is peaking. You should be reviewing your assets on a regular basis and tweaking as the need to reduce risk or increase it changes over time. The habit of rebalancing also helps to keep any emotional, knee-jerk reactions to the market’s volatility under control. Be sure to ask yourself what comparative advantages/products/services made you buy a stock in the first place, and decide if that same mindset holds true today. Additionally, having 30-40% of your assets in cash can help insulate your portfolio from stock price declines. Although you won’t generate the higher returns, you have given yourself liquidity and a degree of safety.
(Via USA Today, photo credit: Getty Images)
1. Reassess your investment thesis for each holding
Dividend stocks come with some key advantages. The main reason many people like dividend stocks is that dividends paid are a beacon for income-seeking investors looking for time-tested business models. In other words, a company isn’t going to pay a regular dividend if its management team doesn’t expect profits to continue.
2. Add dividend stocks to hedge against inevitable stock market corrections
In an environment where the Fed is walking on eggshells and only incrementally increasing rates, growth stocks should continue to have access to relatively cheap capital that they can use to expand and hire.
3. Consider focusing on growth stocks in a low-interest environment
Buying into high-quality stocks on a regular basis helps to remove emotions from the equation, and it eliminates trying to “time the market.”
4. Regularly buy into stocks to lower your cost basis
Another great idea, now that the stock market at an all-time high, is to buy into new and existing stocks on a regular basis. Whether that’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, buy into companies that you believe in regardless of where the three major U.S. indexes are valued.
5. Trust the process (and the data)
Last, but not least, trust the process and the long-term data. As noted, the stock market has returned an average of 7% annually, inclusive of dividend reinvestment. This percentage would work out to a doubling an average of once a decade.
Spending time thinking and planning to train your financial garden to grow in a bull market will reap benefits when market corrects itself.