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How Can You Become a “Healthy” Investor?

Posted May 06, 2015 in Advice Column, Johnston

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This “month” is designed to encourage people to follow a healthy, active lifestyle. But why not carry the concept of improving health to other areas of your life — such as your investments?

Give your portfolio a regular “check-up.” To maintain your fitness, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor for a check-up on a regular basis. And to help ensure the “health” of your portfolio, you may want to periodically review it with the assistance of a financial professional — someone who can point out gaps in your existing holdings or changes that may need to be made.

Follow a balanced investment “diet.”  As you know, nutrition experts recommend that we adopt a balanced diet, drawing on all the major food groups. Too much of any one category — for example, an excess of meat or of dairy products — can lead to health concerns. An analogous situation exists when you invest — if you own too much of one particular asset class, such as aggressive growth stocks, you might expose yourself to an “unhealthy” degree of risk, because you could take a big hit during a market downturn. But not all investments move in the same direction at the same time, so if you own a mix of stocks, bonds, government securities and other vehicles, you can lessen the impact of volatility on your portfolio. In investing, as in all walks of life, balance and moderation are important.

Avoid “unhealthy” habits. Many of us are guilty of unhealthy habits, such as eating too much or failing to address stress. Taken together, these bad habits can harm the quality of our lives. As an investor, you can also fall into some bad habits. To name just a couple, you could waste time and effort by chasing after “hot” investments, which may already be cooling off by the time you hear about them, or you could decide to take a “time out” from investing when the markets are turbulent. Another bad habit: Investing either too aggressively or too conservatively for your goals and risk tolerance. By avoiding these and other negative habits, you can help yourself stay on track toward your objectives.

It takes diligence and vigilance to stay physically fit and healthy. And these same attributes are just as important in keeping your investment strategy in good shape.

Information from Edward Jones, provided by Tim Hanstad, AAMS®, financial advisor, 5525 Merle Hay Road, Suite 260, Johnston, 515-278-2525.

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