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Six Tips for Long-term Investment Success

Six Tips for Long-term Investment Success

    Bank savings accounts currently offer paltry rates of interest.  If you put leave all your money in banks it should be safe but will not grow much.  The stock market offers much more interesting returns but because of the element of risk many people avoid it.  Worse still they might enter the market at the top and then sell out later at the bottom.  Here are some simple rules to help you navigate the market and build a large stock portfolio over a long period.

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    1. Diversify. Spread your risks by investing in a number of stocks in different markets and in mutual funds, bonds and other instruments. A good rule is that no one stock or other investment should be more than 10% of your total portfolio. Invest in different geographic areas such as US, Europe, Asia and emerging markets. Diversify into property funds, commodity funds and hedge funds. This should give you protection against a collapse in any one particular sector.

    2. Do your research. Take advice from various sources.  Invest in some companies whose products and strategies you like.  There are a multitude of comparison sites and other resources on the internet to help you to analyse and understand investments. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance but I would generally prefer to choose a mutual fund or unit trust that had been a strong performer over the last two years and which offers low management fees.

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    3. Run the stars and sell the dogs. Monitor your investments and compare their performances against the market index.  If some of your holdings do well then the temptation is to cash in and take a profit.  It seems natural but if you are in this game for the long term then you want investments that grow over the long term so when you find winners cherish and retain them.  On the other hand you should ditch the dogs that significantly under perform the market.  The temptation is to hold onto them in the hope of a rebound or worse still to increase your holding at the lower price.  This is generally a poor strategy and it is safer to take a small early loss rather than a large one later on.  Do not cling onto stocks for emotional reasons.  Sell the dogs and run with the stars.

    4. Reinvest dividends.  A surprisingly large part of the overall growth in most portfolios comes from reinvested dividends rather than in appreciation of the stock prices. A yield of 3% may appear small but over a period it makes a big difference. Choose some investments with a solid history of dividends and use them as the ballast in your ship.

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    5. Be contrarian. This advice is much easier to give than to observe.  When the stock market is low buy stocks.  When the stock market is high sell your worst performing stocks and buy other investments such as property or bonds.

    6. Take the long view. You are in this for the long term so do not make frequent trades – the commission will eat into your funds. Do not follow fads and fashions.  Diversify in a sensible way.  Do not panic when markets occasionally crash – these are buying opportunities for the brave.

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    Finally be prepared to sell when you eventually need the money.  You invested it to build financial security for you and your family so it is better to use it when needed rather than to scrimp along in order to become the richest man in the cemetery.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

    How to Get Rich: 11 Bold Moves That Guarantee Wealth How to win Arguments – Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist Think Laterally Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

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    Last Updated on April 3, 2019

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

    By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

    This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

    Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

    1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

    This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

    It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

    Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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    Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

    My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

    Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

    2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

    You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

    Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

    If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

    3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

    This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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    It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

    4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

    Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

    This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

    For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

    Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

    5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

    If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

    In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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    6. Get Aggressive About It

    Consider these points:

    Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

    Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

    Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

    Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

    7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

    Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

    By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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    Finally (and most importantly)…

    8. Keep Trying

    Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

    Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

    Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

    The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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