Day 12: GOBankingRates wants to help you Live Richer. For a month, we’ll be sharing daily tips for how you can do just that, with advice on budgeting, saving, investing, making the most of your career and managing debt — plus money advice for every phase of your life. Check back each day during our 31 Days of Living Richer to learn everything you need to know to set yourself up for financial success and live the richest life possible.
Although meme stocks and day trading have been in the headlines lately, investing isn’t just about momentary thrills and short-term gains. Ideally, investing is a part of your long-term financial plans, whether through a retirement account or brokerage account. After all, the longer you stay invested, the more time your money has to compound and grow.
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Here’s how to make investing part of your long-term financial plan.
Figure Out the Best Type of Investments for You
There are a number of investment assets available to you, and ideally, your overall portfolio will include a mix of assets that align with your risk tolerance and time frame. Some common assets include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate and cryptocurrency.
To determine your ideal mix of investments, do some research about the pros and cons of each long-term investment type and/or meet with an advisor who can help come up with a plan that meets your goals.
Decide How You Will Invest
You may choose to invest through a retirement account — such as a 401(k) or IRA — through a brokerage account, or a combination of both. If you have a work-sponsored retirement plan that offers a matching contribution, you should definitely take advantage of this. You may want to still have a separate brokerage account, however, as these accounts typically provide more choices for how you can invest your funds.
Check on Your Investments Regularly
Even though you are investing for the long term, you should still check in on your investment accounts from time to time to ensure you are still on track to meet your goals. Mary Alice Hughes, co-owner of Insurance Advantage & LMA Financial Services in Jacksonville, Arkansas, recommends checking performance quarterly and rebalancing your portfolio as needed.
“If you already have a financial advisor, call or email them with performance questions or concerns,” she said. “If your retirement account is through your employer and you don’t understand how to properly manage the portfolio allocations, you can hire a financial advisor to oversee the account for you. By doing this, you’re creating a personal relationship with an advisor and can make sure you are on track — and stay on track — in your retirement planning.”
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