Guest Author - Tony Daltorio
The Fourth of July weekend is a time for us Americans to relax and take a break from the everyday grind. It's a time to get together with family and friends, enjoy a cookout and other activities. You should also set aside a bit of quiet time to look ahead and think about what the future will hold for you and your family.
An important part of any look into the future concerning your family should contain thoughts of your financial future. Are you saving enough to live comfortably in retirement? Have you thought about getting your children off to a good start financially by setting up a college fund? Hopefully you have and have an investment plan already in place which will allow you to reach your financial goals.
If you have a financial plan in place, the midway point of the year is a good time to review your plan. This is especially true now that the US stock market has officially entered a bear market with a drop of more than 20% from its peak. You should look at your portfolio and ask yourself whether your portfolio is positioned for future long-term growth.
I would to emphasize that you should always ACTIVELY manage your assets. Do not be a PASSIVE investor! I have seen far too many people just put their retirement money (401k & IRA) into a mutual fund and forget about it. Please remember the example I like to point to of a S&P 500 index fund and the negative long-term return on such funds. Many people own this type of fund in their retirement plan. They have lost an entire decade needed to grow their wealth for their retirement. It's ten years they can never get back and will mean much less money for use in their retirement years.
To be a successful investor, I believe that a person has to step back a minute and think about the future. A person should be thinking about what are the major trends shaping the world. Some trends which come to mind for me include: the need for alternative energy sources in this new era of higher oil prices, the major push to reduce CO2 emissions and other 'green' initatives, etc.
Another thought that comes to mind for me is what I believe to be the biggest story in economic history. It is the move of literally billions of people in the 'emerging markets' from poverty toward a middle class existence and the effect that such a move is having on scarce commodities and goods around the globe.
So lay back, enjoy the 4th of July holiday, think about the future, and invest accordingly.