The World Bank has announced that the global economy is “perilously close to falling into recession” in 2023. With that in mind, you may be wondering whether you should make changes to your investment portfolio. While we can’t tell you how to manage your investment portfolio during a volatile market, we can give you the tools to make an informed decision.
Here are 9 things to consider before you make investing decisions:
- Draw up a personal financial plan.
Before you make any investing decision, sit down and take an honest look at your entire financial situation — especially if you’ve never drawn up a financial plan before.
The first step is figuring out your goals and risk tolerance – either on your own or with the help of a financial professional. Of course, this does not guarantee that you’ll make money from your investments. But if you get the facts about saving and investing and follow through with an intelligent plan, you should be able to gain financial security in a matter of years and enjoy the benefits of managing your money properly.
- Decide where your comfort zone is in taking on risk.
Any investment involves some degree of risk. If you intend to purchase securities – such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds – you should understand before you invest that you risk losing some or all of your money.
The reward for taking on risk, however, is the potential for a greater investment return. You are likely to make more money in the long run by carefully investing in asset categories with greater risk. These include stocks or bonds, rather than restricting your investments to assets with less risk, like cash equivalents.
- Consider a wide range of investments.
As proven historically, the returns of the three major asset categories – stocks, bonds, and cash – do not move up and down at the same time. Market conditions that cause one asset category to do well might cause another asset category to have poorer returns. By investing in more than one asset category, you’ll reduce the risk of losing money and your portfolio’s overall investment returns will have a smoother ride. If one asset category’s investment return falls, you’ll be in a position to offset your losses in that asset category with better investment returns in another asset category.
- Reconsider investing heavily in shares of employer’s stock or any individual stock.
One of the most significant ways to lessen the risks of investing is to not put all your eggs in one basket. By picking the right group of investments within an asset category, you may be able to limit your losses and lower the fluctuations of investment returns without sacrificing too much potential gain.
You’ll be exposed to substantial investment risk if you invest heavily in shares of your employer’s stock or any individual stock. If that stock does badly or the company goes bankrupt, you’ll probably lose a lot of money, not to mention your job.
- Have a generous an emergency fund.
If COVID has taught us anything, it is that the most unexpected things can happen very suddenly. Smart investors put enough money into savings to cover an emergency, like sudden unemployment. Some make sure they have up to six months of their income in savings so that they know it will be readily available for them when they need it.
- Pay off high interest debt.
There is no investment strategy anywhere that pays off with less risk than merely paying off all high interest debt you may have. If you owe money on high interest credit cards, the wisest thing you can do under any market conditions is to pay off the balance in full as quickly as possible. If you need assistance with this, have a look at Debt Rescue
- Invest in property.
Investing in property is a way of hedging against inflation. With high inflation, your rental income and property value would increase significantly. It can be a steady source of income, lends stability to the portfolio and allows leverage at very low risk. To find out how much you qualify for, check out BetterBond
- Take advantage of retirement funds from your employer.
In many employer-sponsored retirement plans, the employer will match some or all of your contributions. If your employer offers a retirement fund and you do not contribute enough to get your employer’s maximum match, you are passing up “free money” for your retirement savings.
When you change jobs, it is very tempting to take your retirement fund savings in cash when you leave. But if you take your retirement savings as a cash payout and start from scratch when you join another company, you’ll probably never catch up on the compound interest you would have earned had you transferred the full amount into a preservation fund.
- Avoid circumstances that can lead to fraud.
If you are looking to invest, keep in mind that scam artists read the headlines too. They’ll most often use a highly publicised news item to lure potential investors and make their “opportunity” sound more legitimate. We recommend that you ask questions and check out the answers with an unbiased source before you invest. Always take your time and talk to trusted friends and family members before investing.