ROUGHLY HALF of Americans don’t invest in the stock market. Why not?
According to a JPMorgan Chase survey, 42% say they don’t have enough money, with 63% believing you need at least $1,000 to start investing. But in fact, some financial firms have no required minimum, including the mutual funds offered by Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab.
No doubt a lack of financial literacy also plays a role. The S&P Ratings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey asked folks around the world about notions like diversification,
I’M TOLD THAT younger investors tend to trade more. That’s because those of us in our 20s and early 30s tend to be more confident—and perhaps overconfident—and that leads us to actively manage our portfolios as we seek to outpace the market averages. On top of that, it takes time to learn what works and what doesn’t, and that can also lead to frequent trading.
That brings me to 2021 and the four key portfolio changes I’m making:
LAST YEAR WAS MY first bear market. I’ve been thinking a lot about it and about the astonishing stock market recovery that followed, so I’m better prepared for next time around. Here are three lessons I learned in 2020:
Lesson No. 1: Buy aggressively when markets fall. When the market crashed last February and March, I invested more in stocks. But I regret not having invested a lot more, despite having cash available.
OUR PAST INVESTMENT errors give us strong clues about how we’ll behave in future. They also contain lessons we can put to good use.
Since I started investing, I’ve occasionally assessed my performance—but not in the traditional sense. Rather than evaluating my portfolio’s results, I’ve been pondering my response to the errors I’ve made.
My first mistake happened before I even began investing. I avoided the stock market because of fears of a potential correction.
I’M 28 YEARS OLD. How much should I have in stocks? Some financial experts would suggest allocating 90% of my portfolio, because I have a long time horizon and a steady job. But I don’t think that would be a good idea for me.
My father has driven hundreds of thousands of kilometers over his lifetime—because he’s afraid of flying, despite the much lower risk that air travel entails. Similarly, I have a good idea of what optimal investing behavior looks like for someone of my age.
MAKING CHANGES to our everyday behavior isn’t easy. Inertia is a powerful force: Our brains tend to be on autopilot, not thinking much about what we’re doing—or why we’re doing it. It’s time-consuming and takes effort to pause and reflect on our habits and behavior.
Like so many others around the world, I found myself in lockdown earlier this year. I took advantage of the time to reassess my finances. I was shocked by some of the spending patterns I spotted,
MANY INVESTORS endured their first stock market crash this year. But what if you’ve never before invested in stocks? How do you know what your risk tolerance is—and how do you keep yourself calm?
There are no easy answers. Questionnaires aren’t a great way to find out our risk tolerance. They ask us about hypotheticals when we’re calm, but we act and think differently when the storm hits. Instead, the only sure way to find out our risk tolerance is to weather a storm or two.
HOW MANY TIMES have you found yourself doing things you don’t want to be doing? It might be binge-watching Netflix, eating junk food or mindlessly scrolling through your favorite app. This is something we all struggle with.
Investing is no different. The behaviors we should avoid are mostly clear, but it isn’t always easy to follow through.
I remember vividly the day I joined my first employer, Chicago-based investment researcher Morningstar, as an intern a few years ago.