A sound investment strategy is critical to helping your money grow and, ideally, outpacing inflation. However, if you're like many people, you may not have the time or the inclination to analyze how different investments or securities may fit into your portfolio.
The steps below can help guide you through the investment planning process.
Clarify your investment goals
Before you invest your money, it's important to identify and prioritize your financial goals, assess your risk tolerance and understand your investment options. A financial advisor can help you sort through your options and invest appropriately. Some questions to consider:
- What needs and dreams are you saving for? Retirement, a home, education?
- When will you need the money you plan to invest now?
- What is your risk tolerance? Are you willing to invest in stocks that may rise and fall in value in the short term, but have the potential to deliver larger returns in the long run? Or would you feel better if your money were invested more conservatively?
- Do you understand how different investment vehicles (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, etc.) work? And the potential tax impact of each?
Once you’ve identified your investment goals, you can begin to create an investment strategy that best fits your lifestyle.
Develop an investment strategy
When it comes to investment strategies, working with a financial advisor can ease the process by helping you to:
- Assess your financial situation. Create a clear picture of your current financial situation, including analyzing your investment timeframe and your risk tolerance.
- Understand investing options. Make decisions that are right for you by gaining knowledge on different investment types and accounts.
- Apply diversification. Invest in a variety of assets to distribute and help reduce risk.
- Allocate your funds. Spread your investments among different asset categories, including stocks, bonds, cash and real estate, a process known as asset allocation. This also helps dilute risk.
- Monitor your progress. Revisit and re-allocate your portfolio regularly to make sure your investments are still aligned with your current needs and future goals.
- Consider tax implications. Be aware of tax advantages as well as tax consequences so you can avoid paying unnecessary fees.
How we can help your investments stay on track
Over time, your goals, dreams and risk tolerance may change as well as factors outside of your control may also change. An Ameriprise financial advisor can help you revisit your investment strategy regularly, so you can stay in line with your long-term financial goals.