Planning is essential. As the old saying goes “nobody plans to fail, but many fail to plan”. You and your family’s financial future is too important and complex not to plan for.
Minimize Risk. Risk has many meanings to many people. In financial matters, the key is understanding which risks lead to higher expected returns (like overall stock market risk) and which risks do not (like market timing and stock picking). Instead of trying to estimate your “risk tolerance” you should work out a plan to meet your goals without taking more risk than you have to.
"Nobody plans to fail, but many fail to plan."
Nobody can predict the future. So called “experts” will continue to make forecasts for the future of the economy, stock prices, interest rates and the weather. Sometimes they’ll be right and sometimes they’ll be wrong. Your financial future is too important to bet on anyone’s forecast for the future.
In aggregate, active management cannot beat the market. This simple mathematical point was made clear by Nobel Laureate Bill Sharpe in a short paper called “Arithmetic of Active Management” in 1991. Still many investors do not seem willing to accept this fact.
Costs matter. Traditional Wall Street firms make literally millions of dollars by charging high fees to clients for their “expertise”. And what do their clients get? For the most part, less than nothing (below market rates of return). Understand how much you are paying and what you are paying for before investing your hard earned money.
Taxes matter. US investors face several different tax rates depending on where their income comes from and what types of accounts their assets are held in. Maximizing your after-tax returns can be one of the best ways to reduce the cost of meeting your goals.