It’s Christmas day and, by the time you read this, chances are that either you have already opened the presents or you will sometime later today.
While I certainly hope your celebration was replete with the joy of giving and receiving gifts to and from friends and family, there are a few holiday presents that you can still give yourself that you may not have thought about.
The gifts I’m referring to are the types that truly keep on giving: the gifts of financial preparedness in 2016.
The way I see it, there are several presents you can give yourself right now that can help you become financially prepared for next year. These presents are the best kind because they A) don’t cost you any money, and B) each represent tools in your investment arsenal that you can use for years and years to come.
Here are three great holiday presents you can give yourself right now.
1) Cultivate a positive and winning attitude.
By far the biggest present you can give yourself and your friends and family this year is to approach all aspects of your life with a positive attitude.
While this may sound simple, it’s far from easy, especially when it comes to your approach to investing. What you must remember is that there will be ups and downs in markets, bullish periods and bearish periods for stocks and bullish and bearish periods for different market sectors and various asset classes.
Yet, thanks to the tremendous growth of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) over the past several years, it’s easy to get invested in the segments and asset classes that are outpacing their peers. Having a positive and winning attitude means you are willing to accept the opportunities the market gives you and that you are willing to embrace those opportunities via targeted ETFs.
In 2016, that’s what subscribers to my Successful ETF Investing newsletter will be doing. So if you want to see how we go about employing a positive and winning attitude in this service, I invite you to get on board today.
2) Conduct an asset inventory roundup.
The second present you can give yourself this holiday season is to do a little financial summary of all of your assets, accounts and financial relationships. This means knowing what assets you own (real estate, stocks, bonds, annuities, mutual funds, 401(k), IRAs, pension plans, etc.) and, especially, where those assets are held.
This may sound like basic information, but you would be very surprised at how many people I speak with who aren’t really sure about where there money is, how it is invested and especially how it should be invested to meet their needs.
This present to yourself requires a little bit of time, but I guarantee that will be time well spent — as knowing where your money is and how it is invested is the first necessary step toward allowing yourself the third holiday present on your Christmas list.
3) Make your life easier by consolidating your accounts.
Your asset inventory roundup will let you know how many different accounts you have and in how many different financial institutions your money is located. Once you do this, you’ll need to start giving yourself the present of making your life easier by consolidating your assets into one or two financial relationships.
That means rolling over any former-employer 401(k) accounts into individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or getting out of an old mutual fund company in favor of a discount broker such as Fidelity or Schwab. There is absolutely no good reason to have four, five or more different account statements, several different brokers or multiple IRAs or multiple mutual funds at a variety of companies.
Consolidating your investment accounts into one or, at most, two companies will simplify your life immensely. It also will allow you to make smart changes to your holdings that will enhance your chances of success in 2016.
So, do yourself a favor this Christmas and start giving yourself these three holiday presents. Doing so will be like having Santa coming in for a visit on a regular basis.
A Christmas Thought
“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
— Alexander Smith
I hope that today you can push the pause button on time and soak in the holiday moment. In the end, memories and moments in time are all any of us really have.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my audio podcast, newsletters, seminars or anything else. Ask Doug.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about reactions to the Fed rate decision. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below my Eagle Daily Investor commentary.