What did you do when you built your portfolio? Did you invest the money and then simply walk away? Did you then expect to take another look in ten years’ time and find that you had miraculously become rich?
The financial world, like many other things in life, is always subject to change. Markets go up, and markets go down. What if there is a war in your part of the world, or a huge banking crisis? The financial markets are affected by so many outside factors, a lot of which are not necessarily as dramatic as the above two examples but still have their ramifications upon investments. For this reason, it is always a good idea to take a periodic check of your portfolio to see if the level of risk is still appropriate and if you need to readjust your investments in favor of something that would be better for your present circumstances.
This fiscal check could be compared with the annual reevaluation that Jews are supposed to make at this time of the year. The months of Elul and Tishrei are a time to examine your deeds. You look at what you have done over the past year and where you are going. Are the decisions that you made in the past for yourself and your family still right for you, given the circumstances in your lives that may have changed during the year? How have various challenges that you may have undergone affected the way that you live your life? When you look at the future, what do you see? Although you cannot predict what will happen, there are certain things that you may need to keep in mind and prepare for. Are you prepared for these events?
Spiritual accounting is similar to the financial accounting. In order to be an effective investor, it’s a good idea to sit down once a year with your financial adviser and ask:
– What has happened over the past year that might have changed the balance in your portfolio? – Which of your investments have become more or less risky as a result of market performance? (Learn more about assessing whether high or low risk is good for you.)
– What are your goals for this year, and do you have the means to accomplish them?
– Do you need to change anything in order to improve your financial situation? And if so, exactly what?
– What are the pros and cons of any possible financial move that you may be considering, in terms of hidden costs and taxes, as well as potential profits?
With best wishes in starting the New Year with renewed spiritual strength…and a reevaluated, stronger portfolio.Doug Goldstein, CFP®