Planning Criteria
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Personal Finanace - Investment
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Personal Finance - Investment - Summary

Planning Criteria 

Below are some essential steps that will make you a better investor.

Build a foundation of financial planning principles 
To have a successful investment plan you will need to have a foundation of investing principles. Reading a book or two or enrolling in a continuation education course is an excellent start. To build upon that and to keep up-to-date, there is a variety of other sources of information whether from radio, newspaper, classes, or Internet. 

Written Plan
With the foundation of investment knowledge that you've built, the next step is to develop a written strategy with goals. A written plan does not have to be long to be effective, and even three or four sentences is a fantastic start; the topics could be investment, budgetary, but preferably both. If you’re not sure where to begin you may want to describe what investments you own and why. Then expand by expressing any current short-term and/or long-term financial goals, as well as other thoughts you have. 

By having your investment plan in writing you'll decrease the odds that you'll react on emotions and market volatility. Instead, you'll make changes when pre-defined conditions are met, things you wrote down. 

Keeping up to date
After you build a foundation of investment principles you'll want to supplement it with current information. Certainly a newspaper such as Barron's, The Wall Street Journal(WSJ), Investor's Business Daily (IBD), or New York Times (NYT) are good options. Barron's is weekly so it takes less time and is our favorite. If you plan to select individual stocks rather than funds or indexing do consider Investor's Business Daily (IBD). 

Alternatively or in addition, sources such as newsletters, radio, on-line sources, and magazines are valuable. Many brokerage accounts provide research reports for individual companies, have opinions on the economy and financial markets, and other topics. Our investor links page offer numerous quality references in each of these categories.

With so many viewpoints you'll need to filter out the noise. It is important to find regular sources that you can trust and are comfortable with (don't worry about every opinion or headline). How do you tell when you have those trusted sources? By the confidence and conviction you have taking action upon their recommendations as well as measuring the results. 

Periodic Reviews
Make an appointment with yourself to review your financial picture. You may want to do this monthly, quarterly, or annually. You’ll want to list your assets and liabilities on a spreadsheet or legal pad to give yourself a current snapshot of your financial status. Now that you have a list of your assets go back to your written plan, and make any revisions.

The above steps may seem overwhelming, especially if you are new to investing. Everybody has to start somewhere and in time the above steps will not take that much time. The hardest part is getting started. If you need help in devising a system of organizing your investments and planning, Charles R. Schwab has a few great books that are easy to follow.

Enjoy this investment future value Excel file we created.

Personal Finance - Investments


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