1| Why are you accumulating assets?
It all starts with why? Are you saving for a rainy day? In order to "work optional"? For a child or grandchild's education? To travel the world? Whether it's some combination of these or something else completely, we encourage you to start with a destination in mind. Goals and life changes and we will be here to help you change your course - but we believe it's easier and more fun to stick to a plan when you know where you're going!
2| Do you have a well-thought out plan for how and where you're investing your money?
We believe that markets are efficient over the long-term. In the short-term, they can react to the latest headline. Long-term wealth is built by being in the market, not jumping in and out trying to time the market. Stocks can be scary. When times are good, it's easy to be a stock investor. When markets are going down every day, it can be hard to ignore the noise and stick to the plan. The key to being a successful investor is being able to stay invested in good times and in bad. It's also important to realize that parts of your portfolio will do better than others. That doesn't mean that you should sell what's not doing "well" and buy more of what is; it means that your portfolio is diversified. Different types of stocks (value versus growth or large versus small or U.S. versus International) are in favor and doing better at that particular time. The same is true of bonds. Some times owning bonds will seem boring. But when markets get ugly, boring can be beautiful and help you weather the storms.
3| How much of a loss can you stand in your portfolio before you're tempted to throw in the towel and sell?
Our goal is to a design what we call the "Goldilocks" portfolio. This is a mix of risky and safer assets that leaves you content when times are good and doesn't cause you to panic or lose sleep when times are bad. We know that markets will go down at times. This is why you can earn more over time than leaving your money in bank accounts - but at any point in time, your account may show a loss. The key to success is to focus on the long-term and not get caught up in the noise.