You might be focused on getting in shape for swimsuit season, but take a break from the gym this spring and spend some time on your financial fitness. Here are five tips to help get your investment portfolio into prime condition:
- Shed the weight of extra accounts – It’s not unusual to acquire multiple retirement accounts over the years, especially if you’ve changed jobs several times. Consider consolidating them to simplify the management of your investments. If you have retirement assets with a former employer, it could be to your advantage to roll them over to your own individual retirement account to better control how your money is invested. Consolidating accounts also might make it easier to monitor the investments’ performance and give you the opportunity to ensure they’re properly allocated.
- Bulk up your retirement savings – Have you given enough weight to what you’ll need in savings to retire comfortably? Are you taking full advantage of employer matching contributions and maxing out your IRA each year? You have until April 17 to contribute $5,000 (or $6,000 if you’re older than 50) to a traditional IRA.
- Grow stronger – Fluctuating financial markets affect industries and individual investments differently, often in ways that are difficult to predict. You can strengthen your portfolio by making sure your money is spread across a variety of investments. A diversified portfolio is not as likely to be derailed should one investment topple in value. Rather than trying to pick individual stocks and time the market, pace yourself with systematic investments and think long-term.
- Achieve the right balance – In light of the fickle nature of financial markets, even a well-balanced portfolio can look different than what you might have expected over time. Periodically assess the volatility of investments across and within their classes (stocks, bonds and so forth) and rebalance your portfolio to achieve the desired asset allocation. A financial adviser can help you.
- Enlist a personal trainer for your finances – Like many activities, managing investments is more fun – and potentially more productive – when you have a knowledgeable person by your side. A skilled financial adviser can help improve your investment fitness and reach your financial goals. Together, you can apply disciplined strategies to strengthen your investment portfolio and help you get in the best financial shape of your life.
This column is provided by Ameriprise Financial Services for Tim Dameron, its financial adviser in Rocky Mount.