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Taming the “What-if Monster”: The Crucial Role of Portfolio Diversification

When it comes to investing, one monster looms over investors: the "what-if monster." This monster is all those thoughts that keep you up at night as you think about the worst-case scenarios and fear that if one thing goes wrong, your entire investment strategy could be at risk.  Doubt is normal, but it isn't always helpful. The what-if monster can be debilitating and make it hard for investors to have confidence.   

With investment portfolio diversification, however, any investor can transform their relationship with the what-if monster and feel prepared for the ups and downs of the market. 

What is Diversification and Why is It Important?

Diversification simply means creating a mix of varied investments, ensuring that investors do not put all their eggs in one basket. That means making sure your asset mix includes stocks, bonds, and short-term investments and then aligning to your investment time frame, financial needs, as well as your comfort level with volatility. Working with a financial planner allows you to review and discuss different levels of risk and return potential and ensure you feel confident with your investment strategy. As your assets grow, periodic redistribution of your assets is essential to ensure your portfolio remains balanced and diversified.

 Diversification

  • Spreads out and reduces risk
  • Mitigates unsystematic risk (it doesn't help if the entire market collapses)
  • Allows you to choose more investments
  • Preserves your capital
  • While it can sometimes result in lower returns, it comes with a significant reduction in risk.

How to Ensure Your Portfolio is Properly Diversified

It's best to seek the help of an expert to ensure you minimize your risk and maximize your return. Here are some things we can help with to let you build a resilient portfolio to support your long-term success:

1.     Investment research. While you may get some enjoyment from doing this yourself, an expert can help you find opportunities you might not have thought of, spot red flags, and make the best decision. We can also help you find investments that fit your personal values.

2.     Portfolio diversification strategies. Portfolio diversification strategies vary depending on your investment horizon and risk tolerance. We can help you pick the right strategy to support your short- and long-term needs. For example, most portfolios should have between 25 and 30 percent in stocks. You should also diversify across industries, and take into account disruption.

3.     Monitoring and Rebalancing. No portfolio can sit there, untouched. Monitoring your portfolio and making changes to deal with world events, market changes, and exciting new opportunities can be almost a full-time job. We can help you keep an eye on your portfolio and make adjustments, rebalancing as needed. Also, if you find watching your stocks makes you anxious, don't worry, we can handle it for you.

4.     Behavioral guidance. Some people chase shiny stocks. Others are so risk-averse they miss opportunities. We can help you learn to find a good middle path, developing a long- term financial plans built to withstand the inevitable ups and downs of the market.   

5.     Tax efficiency. Finally, we can help you manage your portfolio in ways that minimize your tax burden. We can help you decide how much to put into long-term funds for the future, how much to keep liquid, and when the best time is to withdraw money.

Quieting the "What-if Monster"

A diversified investment portfolio helps focus on your time, energy, and resources and what you can control and let go of what you cannot. Reach out and schedule an appointment with us. The what-if monster lives in every investor, but you can reduce the chatter of this monster by having us create a diversified portfolio, thoughtfully put together to weather market fluctuations. 

Vacation Planning: 10 Budgeting Tips for a Memorable Summer

Back view of a happy family on a tropical beach with a car on the side.

Enjoy a memorable summer vacation without breaking the bank.

Vacation Planning: 10 Budgeting Tips for a Memorable Summer

Everyone loves a summer vacation. It should be a carefree time spent basking in the sun with your favorite people. What you rarely hear about (but many experience) is the financial stress of summer overspending. Fortunately, this stress can be avoided with just a little forward vacation planning and budgeting strategy.

If you want to enjoy your fun in the sun without worrying about your finances, we're delighted to share a few budgeting tips and financial planning advice to help you prepare for summer expenses. Vacation, travel, leisure activities and summer shopping should be carefree. Let's make it that way together.

 

1) Set a Realistic Budget

Take the time to calculate how much you can afford to spend on summer vacation or your favorite leisure activities. Your goal is to have a good time and perhaps maintain a few treasured summer traditions without putting your financial stability at risk. Consider your income, savings, and any financial obligations that might impact your plans.

Put a number on your summer budget so that you have a concrete place to start for affordable summer plans.

 

2) Plan Ahead for Summer Fun

Don't just jump into summer adventures. Last-minute and tourist prices have a convenience mark-up. Instead, plan ahead. Determine the cost of the vacations and activities you want to do and how much you can save by planning ahead. Booking early, packing a picnic, and checking the cost of tickets can help you plan an affordable vacation and will help you avoid overspending.

Don't forget to look for deals, discounts, and off-peak times to save money.

 

3) Track Your Expenses

Keep track of how much you spend in the lead-up to your vacation and during your trip. Keep notes on your phone to help you stay within budget. You'll quickly notice areas where you really want to overspend (budget more for these next summer) and areas where you can cut back to make room for those oh-so-satisfying impulse buys.

 

4) Prioritize What Makes You Happiest

Your summer budget will go much further if you prioritize the aspects of summer fun that make you the happiest. Consider what is most important to you, the activities and purchases that are the most satisfying, and what you want to do during the summer. Once you have a list of priorities, you can cut things that don't make you as happy. For example, you might cancel your streaming accounts while on vacation or skip the fancy restaurants for delicious taco stands and beachside ice cream.

Allocate your budget toward what makes you the happiest and will make your summer successful.

 

5) Save for Summer in Advance

Start setting aside money for summer fun in the months leading up to your desired vacation. Saving $100 a month for several months can accumulate into a tidy sum to plan your vacation and summer adventures. Set up a separate savings account and consider automatic transfers to help you save consistently and build up a summer nest egg for carefree festivities.

 

6) Look for Cost-Effective Options

Look for opportunities to save. There are tons of budget-friendly alternatives to the overpriced core-tourist options. Book a room in an older historic hotel that's a little off the beaten track. Book a few months ahead to save on peak season prices. Consider the most affordable methods of transportation on your vacations. You might stay in a rental property instead of a hotel, use public transportation instead of renting a car, and take advantage of free or low-cost activities.

Hint: Museums, aquariums, and other low-key downtown attractions are often very affordable and within walking distance of one another.

 

7) Limit Discretionary Spending

Cut back on non-essential expenses leading up to your vacation. You can motivate yourself by envisioning the fun things you will buy with the money you don't spend on extra streaming, restaurant food, or impulse shopping. Every time you don't spend, reward yourself by putting the unspent dollars into your summer savings account and watching your vacation budget grow.

 

8) Vacation Planning Hack: Use Rewards and Discounts

Use rewards and discounts. Save rewards points on your credit card for groceries and gas. Build up loyalty points with your favorite retailers to spend on summer vacation clothes and supplies. Use your memberships to get discounts on their summer sales. A little strategic rewards management can really help lower the cost of vacations and leisure activities.

Hint: Before booking tickets, become a loyal member of any airline or hotel you book with. Membership is often free and opens the door to discount opportunities, lounge access, and extra services during your vacation.

 

9) Pack Wisely

Pack essentials and items you'll need on the trip. Make a list before you go to ensure that you don't have to purchase missing items (like sunscreen) at inflated tourist prices at your destination.

Also, use packing hacks to pack your summer gear tightly to avoid extra baggage fees. If you're going to a souvenir shop, leave room in your suitcase for extras.

 

10) Be Flexible With Vacation Planning

Planning ahead and building an affordably fun agenda is great! But don't forget to keep an open mind about opportunities. Adjust your plans based on your budget and financial situation as the summer approaches. Maybe there will be an emergency expense, or maybe you'll spot a super-cheap local water park and skip the expensive theme park tickets. Be ready to make changes to get the most value and stay within your budget along the way.

Start Your Summer Vacation Planning Now!

By following these tips and being mindful of your spending, you can enjoy a memorable summer vacation and leisure activities without breaking the bank. For more financial tips to enrich your life and empower your plans, you can rely on CrossleyShear Wealth Management. Contact us today!

Is It Too Late to Start Investing?

Is It Too Late to Start Investing?

Investing is a great way to get your money working for you. With a solid investment strategy, you have the potential to increase the money you originally put into your investment, possibly making it easier to cover the cost of retirement, college, and more. However, many people worry that it might be too late to start investing, especially if they're aiming for retirement savings. Even if you're nearing retirement age, you can still take advantage of many types of investments that may improve your savings.

The Investment Time Horizon

An investment time horizon is the amount of time you expect to hold an investment before you cash it out. Your time horizon may be different depending on your specific goals and the length of time until you meet them. For example, if you'll be sending a child off to college in ten years, you may have more time to invest than if you're planning to send your child to college in just three or four short years. Likewise, you have a longer time horizon for retirement investments if you start investing in your twenties and thirties than if you're playing catch-up in your forties and fifties.

Risk Versus Return in Investing

Risk and return often directly correlate when you're choosing an investment strategy. High-risk investments may have the potential for a higher yield, especially in the short term. But they also have a much higher potential to decrease in value. Sometimes, that decrease can be substantial.

Many investment professionals recommend decreasing your overall risk level as you get closer to the time when you will need to take advantage of those funds. For example, if you're within five years of your retirement, you may want to decrease portfolio risk levels to help ensure that your investment remains stable until you're ready to retire.

Start as Early as Possible

Ideally, when you're launching an investment strategy, you want to start as early as possible. The longer your money remains invested, the more potential it has to gain for you. Compounding interest means that after several decades of investment, your money may be much greater than your initial investment. An early start also helps ensure that you have more to set back over time. When you prioritize investing early, you're often in a better position to keep investing.

 

It's Never Too Late to Get Started

Even if you started your investment strategy later than you intended, it's not too late to get started! There are several investment strategies designed to help increase income for your existing funds. Furthermore, even though you may not be able to take care of the compounding interest you could have otherwise earned, getting started now may mean higher interest than if you put off getting started with an investment strategy.

What to Expect If You Start Investing in Your 50s or 60s

If you start investing in your 50s or 60s, you will have a shorter time horizon to hold onto those investments and allow them to generate income for you than if you had started investing in your 20s, 30s, or 40s. However, you still have the potential to make substantial money through your investments, including funding your retirement account.

Some things to consider:

  • You may want to make fewer high-risk investments since you have less time for your portfolio to balance.
  • You likely have a better understanding of your personal risk tolerance and your overall financial portfolio.
  • Also, you may have better starting investment amounts since you have had more time to accumulate wealth throughout your lifetime.
  • You may want to consider the benefits of short-term investments.

By working with CrossleyShear Wealth Management, you can get the help you need to improve your investment strategy and create a plan designed to help you maximize your earnings. CrossleyShear Wealth Management can help you develop the right financial plan regardless of when you begin. Reach out today to discuss your financial planning options and learn more about investment strategies that will fit your needs, regardless of your age.

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