Last summer The New York Times ran an interesting story on how to plan – and not overplan – for a long-term trip. Turns out, much of the advice is pretty applicable for long-term investing too. Traders may jet in and out for quick trips, while investors settle in for the long haul, prepared for the vicissitudes and adventures that a lengthy voyage can bring. But first, we plan.
Selecting a destination is nearly always influenced by how much you choose to spend. Similarly, in investing, the first step is determining how much money to stash into savings on a regular basis to build that nest egg. When purchasing equities, price is critical. Setting a target price or dollar-cost averaging, when prices dip, will help to ensure you don’t overpay.
A reliable Wi-Fi connection means no shortage of selfies posted to Instagram and the ability to stay in touch with those at home. The ability to connect with one’s financial advisor is also essential. Find someone with whom you can rely on to return your calls and supply the time you need for updates and questions. For DIY investors, most online trading platforms provide trial accounts so you can get a feel for the quality of the technology before you commit funds.
“The ability to quell anxiety and uncertainty during big market moves is a boon.”
Paperwork is a huge hassle, but if visas and passports are not ready at the border or you don’t have insurance when you need it – no es bueno, no vayas. You don’t want to find out on the day you’re trying to score a great deal on your favourite stock that you can’t buy it because of a back-office filing error. This happens more often than you might think.
The ability to coax yourself into sleep anywhere, anytime is a huge advantage when traveling. Similarly, the ability to quell anxiety and uncertainty during big market moves is a boon. Written criteria for each equity position you hold – when to buy, when to sell, which indicators you trust – provide an objective way to check emotions, stay calm and not get caught up in the noise.
“…not overindulging is also important in investing.”
Eating a balanced diet and sticking to dietary restrictions while traveling can help one’s body go with the flow, so to speak. Maintaining a balanced portfolio and not overindulging is also important in investing. While a stock might be super-hot, loading up on it at the expense of other tried and true performers can create uncomfortable risk, particularly if the stock is extra volatile.
There will always be fees and they can rapidly eat up your budget and your profits. Not all of them are mandatory. Depending on the size of your account or contributions, annual fees can get waived and transaction fees can be reduced. Always inquire about an unexpected fee and chances are, something can be done.
Plans evolve, goalposts move and sometimes, the fundamentals of a company will change, invalidating your reasons for holding it. Allow your portfolio to reflect changes to your personal situation, risk parameters and time horizon. Most importantly, remember that your investments must serve your life, not the other way around. As the New York Times article concluded: “Ask yourself: What do you hope to accomplish… at minimum? Aim for it, but don’t live by it.”