April Is National Financial Literacy Month and Bellevue, Washington Certified Financial Planner™ professional Steve Juetten notes that there are five investing basics every investor needs to know — especially when time is in short supply.
April Is National Financial Literacy Month and Bellevue, Washington CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional Steve Juetten notes that there are five investing basics every investor needs to know -- especially when time is in short supply.
1. Risk and return are related. While many investors are looking for get rich quick schemes and short cuts, Juetten reminds investors that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If an investor wants to have more potential for return, the investor has to be prepared for more risk. This is one reason Juetten is such a strong believer in the investment approach called asset class investing. It's a time-tested way to balance risk and return that allows the investor to stop guessing about investing and start making informed investment decisions.
2. No one can predict the future. It's tempting to try to pick the new Apple or Google stock, but no one can guess the future Juetten cautions. Because all the information about a company is available to everyone at the same time, trying to guess which stock is going to do better than any other stock is pure speculation. It's like trying to predict which tree in the forest is going to grow fastest. Instead, says Juetten, why not just buy the whole forest? Asset class investing does just that. Rather than speculating on what might happen, the asset class investor chooses different asset classes and divides money among them. That way, the investor is being both efficient and effective with using their investment dollars wisely.
3. Keep it simple. Investing is simple, but not easy, Juetten believes. Due to the efforts of the financial media and the Wall Street money machine, too many people think investing has to be complicated and take lots of time. That's not true Juetten responds. There are only a few basic principles of investing that an investor needs to follow to create success. His simple rules include saving early, not putting all of the eggs in one basket, staying the course, and keeping costs low. Juetten says that if investors just do a few things well, they will be better off than the majority of investors.
"A good investment plan needs to be simple enough to understand and stick with when markets are volatile or when investments are in a downward trend. Juetten says, when it comes to investing, the simpler solution is usually better one. Investing doesn't have to be complex to be effective," Juetten says.
4. Know the cost of investing. This is one part of financial literacy that everyone needs to know and understand, Juetten explains. The reason this is important is that every dollar the investor pays in fees and expenses is a dollar that reduces the return of the investment. In other words, the fees and expenses come out of the investor's pocket and go into the hands of the mutual fund companies, brokers and investment advisers. Juetten warns that it's not easy to determine the total cost for investing. Besides the obvious like mutual fund expenses, there are hidden costs, too. To be financially literate, investors need to ask their advisers lots of questions about fees and costs.
5. Recognize the behaviors that lead to success. Juetten tells new investors that one key to financial literacy is recognizing their self-defeating behaviors. Juetten says that most investors sabotage their own success by trading too often, doing what everyone else is doing, changing investment approaches, and following hot tips. Instead, the wise and successful investor by practicing the three P's: perspective, persistence and patience.
About Certified Financial Planner Professional and Ditch the Guesswork Author Steve Juetten: Steve Juetten is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and the author of the newly released and favorably reviewed book titled Ditch the Guesswork: Creating Reliable ROI for Time-Starved Investors. He has been advising busy working professionals how to take care of their money so they can do more of what they love since 2002. Juetten has contributed expert insights to Bankrate.com, PBS.com, Forbes.com, MSNMoney.com, FOXBusiness.com, and the Puget Sound Business Journal. Seattle Magazine has awarded Juetten a FIVE STAR WEALTH MANAGER honor for five years in a row based on client votes of satisfaction. Learn more and engage at www.finpath.com.