Safe investing? Is there such a thing? Almost everybody want to know that when the put up their dollars they are going to get them back with more, maybe a little more, maybe a lot; but they don’t want investing in stocks, funds or ETFs to be a gamble.
Investing need not be a crap shoot if certain simple, common sense principles are followed. But even safe investing does not mean there will be no loses along the road to increased wealth. That doesn’t mean, “Stop” investing is not for you. Think about it as driving down a road or highway. How many roads have you been on that are totally smooth, easy to drive and safe? Yes there are roads like that; ones that have just been built or resurfaced, just like there are new stocks, ETFs or funds…but how many days or weeks does that perfect road last?
Then there are roads that are bumpy, and ones filled with potholes. Or how about the broken up, dirt, gravel and rain trenched or rutted roads that can bust a tire, break an axel or tear off an oil pan? Investing can be just as dangerous, risky or safe as driving.
There are a few key principles to safe investing:
• Tell yourself, and write down how much you are willing to risk your money: a little or a lot. It’s just like deciding what roads you would prefer to avoid.
• Identify the types of investments you consider safe for either all or part of your money. This could be dividend paying stocks, funds or ETFs or bonds, or funds or ETFs that are indexed or follow certain industries or sectors of the economy
• Recognize how much time you are willing to put into managing your money for its future growth. If you are willing to spend 30 -60 minutes every day you can jump to the best performers almost instantly. If your life allows you about 30 minutes once a week then your investment process should be based on technical analysis that gives weekly buy and sell signals that meet your ‘willingness of risk’. If your time is very limited and you only want to spend an hour every month or two than you can choose between technical analysis based on this time frame or you can choose to go the fundamental route of picking investment position for the long haul.
• Just as detours pop up and routes change how we go from one place to another be prepared to change course with your investments. Perhaps today you only want to spend an hour every few months managing your portfolio but who knows what will happen that may make you switch to weekly management. Keep this in the back of your mind because as we all know, what we thought we were going to do when we left high school is probably not exactly the road we have traveled. If you are going to use a software program to help manage or make investment decisions, be sure the program is flexible enough to allow you to switch course when you want.
• And remember your exit strategy, having a signal that tells you when to hold off investing and go to cash to preserve your money when the market crashes or bounces. It’s just like knowing where you will get off a freeway when you see that sign saying ‘construction ahead’.