5 Steps to Create an Investment Plan
Like anything in life, having a plan for your investments will help you reach your investment goals. Below are five steps for crafting your investment plan. 1. Determine Your Goal Every good investment plan begins with a clear goal in mind. Ask yourself: “Why am I investing? What do I hope to do with that money?” For example, you might invest to:
Fund a child’s college education
Buy a house
Start a new business
Leave a charitable bequest to a favorite cause
Pay for a wedding
Write down your investment goals. Make them as specific as possible. Think about the kind of lifestyle you want in retirement, the cost of your dream vacation home, the cash you’ll need to start your business, or the cost of tuition where your children might go to college. Write down a realistic estimate of how much you think you’ll need. Making these estimates can be challenging, but it’s an essential investment planning step. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. 2. Decide on Your Time Frame After you outline your goals, you need to establish your time frame for investing. Typically, your goals will fall into one of three categories: Short term: Short-term goals are those you expect to achieve in five years or less. Mid term: Mid-term goals are those you expect to achieve in five to 10 years. Long term: Long-term goals are those you expect to achieve in more than 10 years. Your investing time frame has a direct relation to the investments you’ll choose. Generally, the shorter your time horizon, the less risk you want to take. If you will need your money in three years to pay for your daughter’s college education, then putting all your money in riskier investments is probably not wise, as the chances of losing money are greater. Instead, less-risky investments like bonds will likely make up a larger portion of your portfolio. But if you’re investing for the long haul (say, for a retirement that’s 30 years away), you can invest in higher-risk investments, since you’ll have more time to recover from a loss. 3. Evaluate Your Tolerance for Risk All investments come with risk — the chance you could lose your money. But riskier investments also come with the possibility of greater return. As an investor, you must decide how much risk you’re willing to accept. Your personal risk tolerance is closely related to your goals and time frame, as well as your experience with investing and feelings about the possibility of losing money. 4. Decide How Much to Invest Once you've considered your time horizon, goals, and risk tolerance, you can consider how much to invest. You should keep a portion of your savings in a stable, easily accessible account to use for emergencies and other immediate needs. Once you have the funds for your initial investment, you'll need to decide how much you want to invest on an ongoing basis. This number will be determined by your budget, investment goals, and time frame. For smaller, short-term goals, determining ongoing investment amounts is fairly easy. If you want to buy a home in five years, you might open an account with $2,000 you’ve already saved and then invest $400 a month for the next five years. Deciding how much to invest for longer-term goals can be more challenging. When saving for retirement, you'll need to consider how much yearly income you’ll need, your anticipated investment returns, when you want to retire, how long you can expect to live, the impact of inflation, and money you’ll receive from other sources like Social Security. It can be a complicated equation, which is why many people turn to a financial advisor for help running the numbers. 5. Choose Your Investments Given the thousands of possible options, choosing investments can be overwhelming. But completing the first four investment planning steps should help you make those decisions. Again, your goals, risk tolerance, and time frame will point you in the right direction, such as toward target-date funds designed for retirees or college savers, or a money market fund for short-term goals. But if you’re baffled by all the options, it’s always a good idea to seek a second opinion.
Representative is registered with and offers only securities and advisory services through PlanMember Securities Corporation, a registered broker/dealer, investment advisor and member FINRA/SIPC. 6187 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria CA. 93013, (800) 874-6910. Randall Wealth Management Group and PlanMember Securities Corporation are independently owned and operated. PSEC is not responsible or liable for ancillary products or services offered by Randall Wealth Management Group or this representative. CA Insurance License: #0727953.
This newsletter was prepared by Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. The opinions expressed in this newsletter are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Material presented is believed to be from a reliable sources and PSEC makes no representation as to it accuracy or completeness.