Time Out

 

Are you paying any attention to your retirement savings? Do you have it in cash or an account with a broker? Maybe you have a professional manager who is investing your money as you add to it every month.

Is your account increasing in value every year? If it isn't why are you letting anyone else invest for you? There is no point having a loser in charge of your money. You must take the time to direct what and where you money is invested. Too many people tell me they don't know what to do, but if your account has been going down every year you would not do any worse then the "expert".

I love those professional money managers who tell you about diversification. You know that one. Put some in stocks, some in bonds, some in annuities, and some in a money market account. Did it ever occur to you that the reason they want you to spread it around is because they don't know where the best place really is and hope that some part will make some money? Did your broker or financial planner brag that he beat the S&P index last year, but you still lost money because it was down 22%? You are better off to have it in the mattress at zero percent than watch it disappear in those monthly statements.

Brokers are not taught to make money or even how to protect your capital. The average broker has 300 accounts and unless you have a very large sum or are an active trader he doesn't even know who you are. When was the last time you spoke with him? Ask him what his investment strategy is.

In the past 3 years we have seen the general market (S&P500) lose one third of its value as of this date. And the Nasdaq has lost more than 60%. Recently the bond market has collapsed and wiped out all the profits of the previous 4 years. So much for diversification. The mattress looks better all the time.

The single most important thing about investing is not to lose money. I'm not joking. It is the basic rule of all professional traders (and I was one when I was a floor trader on the exchange) not to take big losses. You must make that a rule for yourself. Each week or at least once each month you must review what is happening in your account and weed out any and all weak stocks and mutual funds.

You can be sure your broker will not call you to sell out of a weak position. It is your money and no one has more interest in it than you do. You have to take the time out to do it yourself. Take a time out now and make that call.

 



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