6 min read
This story originally appeared on MarketBeat
You know the long list of investment regrets: Not starting to invest soon enough, selling at the wrong time, going for the safe option, et cetera, et cetera.
However, the only path forward can sometimes involve… well, simply moving forward. Here’s how to deal with the investment regrets you sometimes encounter at any point during your investing life and future.
Tip 1: Keep your goals top of mind.
What goals do you have for your financial future? Do you want to save enough money to retire by 60? Have money to send your kids to college?
Whatever missteps you made in the past, you can wipe them out by becoming completely goal-oriented. Figure out how much you need to invest using MarketBeat’s retirement calculator, then break that amount down into monthly contributions. Let’s say that in order to retire by 60, you need to save $40,000 per year. Break that into a monthly contribution. In this case, you’ll need to save $3,333 every month.
Working from a goal-oriented perspective can give you a lot of peace of mind later on.
Tip 2: Learn from your mistakes.
When you unsuccessfully try to time the stock market or make poor market moves, don’t beat yourself up.
Learn from your mistakes. Keep a trading journal so you know how to make better decisions the next time around. Don’t buy a stock next time without doing ample research. It’s not easy to examine your mistakes but it’s really one of the only ways you can avoid making the same mistakes over and over.
Tip 3: Address recurring problems.
Address problems that keep popping up (instead of having a financial Groundhog Day all the time)!
Whether you repeatedly buy stocks based on online “hot stock tips” (only to become disappointed later) or repeatedly buy high and sell low, sometimes you need to do more than just learn from these mistakes. When your choices continue to put you on a dangerous financial path, you must put a stop to it, particularly when you can identify troublesome patterns.
Spend some time figuring out why you’re in credit card debt or why you spend all your time trading on a whim.
Whatever you’ve experienced in the past, start dealing with it so you can get a handle on the issues plaguing you — and correct them so you can better your financial future.
Tip 4: Keep things in perspective.
You know that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t invest right away when you turn 22, right?
Did you know that you’re actually not the logical decision-maker you think you are? No human is. So give yourself some grace, because carefully weighing the pros and cons, costs and benefits of each decision sometimes just doesn’t happen. In fact, we’re predisposed to put greater weight on losses than gains. We’d rather end up with a lesser amount of money in our pockets than wind up empty-handed!
Remember that your emotional instincts are normal, and most of the time, they don’t lead to catastrophic mistakes.
Tip 5: An advisor can fix a lot.
Even if you’re a diehard investing DIYer, remember that it’s often freeing to plunk down your troubles and have someone else help you fix them. Let’s say you’re 40 and haven’t figured out how to consistently free up money to invest for retirement. Maybe you need help deciding how to plan for life emergencies.
An advisor can help you map out a plan based on your goals. Just make sure you choose the right advisor for you by taking the following steps:
- Decide which types of help you need.
- Learn about your prospective financial advisor’s credentials and understand how they get paid.
- Interview several financial advisors to pick the right one for you. (Ask family and friends for recommendations about the advisors they use.)
- Choose your financial advisor. You should feel completely comfortable with the individual you choose.
Your first meeting with a financial advisor should be free. It’ll be a get-to-know-you session and the advisor will give you more guidance and information about their recommendations on how you should proceed moving forward.
Tip 6: Keep moving forward.
You don’t want your investment regrets to derail your future, because sometimes you need to deal with the mentality issues that accompany making investment mistakes. (It’s easy to throw in the towel!)
However, there’s no sense in looking to the past or dwelling on past mistakes. They’re in the past.
Moving forward, try to avoid debt at all costs if you can. Sometimes you have to take on debt to pay for basic necessities, medical bills and more. Adjust your overall lifestyle and stick to paying for things with cash.
Tip 7: Remember that investing in the market requires a long-term approach.
The stock market has produced an average 10% return over the last century. If you stay in the market, your investments will do the work for you.
Assessing your finances consistently also allows you to take a proactive approach to your investments. You may need to change your investment allocation to fit your goals.
For example, you may not be hitting the right stock/bond allocation. In that case, you may need to shift some investments to make sure you’ll meet your investment goals. Luckily, technology can be a huge help when you need to change your allocations.
Whatever you do, take a long-term approach, particularly if you’ve got time on your side.
It’s Possible to Live with Your Investment Regrets
Everyone has investment regrets. In fact, seniors have indicated numerous investment regrets: not investing for retirement early on in life, not putting together a large enough emergency fund, not getting ahead of credit card debt, taking on too large of a mortgage or student loan debt, not saving enough for kids’ college funds and more.
The most important part of dealing with your investment regrets: Deal with the underlying reasons you continue to experience financial mistakes so they don’t derail your future.