Investing for the future is a daunting task that most of us are not fully prepared for. Whether you want to minimize your risk or maximize your returns, you are bound to regret some loss or a missed opportunity along the way. Regret is inherent to the process, but once you've accepted that it's inevitable, you can begin to deal with the fallout. Here are five tips to help you move on when an investment doesn't go your way.
Know What You Want
Find the right balance for you
The surest way to magnify your regrets is to skip this step. If you jump on any investment that sounds tempting, without fitting it into your larger plans, you won't be happy with how anything turns out. So are you looking for sudden, big gains, or do you want the stability of a sure thing? Do you want a diverse portfolio, or a focused one? And how much of your money are you willing to put on the line? Once you figure out the balance you want, you can prepare yourself to let go of the missed opportunities or the losses that go along with your broader goals.
Don't Blame Yourself
There's no sense in beating yourself up
Seriously. Whether your money is going into individual businesses, mutual funds, or cryptocurrency, there are major risks involved, and no one can navigate those risks perfectly. Even if, in retrospect, some choice you made with your money was obviously wrong, you've learned something. Chances are that you didn't study investing in school, so the surest way to learn is to try, and any time you try something new, failure is on the table. So you screwed up and lost some money. If you have a broader plan, then it was money you were willing to risk. Mark off one mistake you'll never make again, and move on. Chances are it won't be your last mistake, but each one will make you a better investor.
Don't Be Reactive
If you let a mistake scare you off track, you'll just make another
I once lost a large chunk of money on a risky investment in an individual company. Shortly after, I allowed myself to be talked into shifting money from another individual stock to a more secure real estate investment. There was nothing wrong with that real estate investment, but the stock I sold has since grown to over five times the original price. I let myself be scared away from a calculated risk because of one bad experience. Stick to your guns. One investment going sour does not predict that others will do the same.
Don't Chase Trends
You are not Nostradamus
You can't predict the future. The good news is tht you don't need to. If you were a day trader, you wouldn't be reading this, so don't try to jump on board with the latest exciting development, and don't jump ship at the first sign that an investment is trending down. You can't know when enthusiasm is peaking or pessimism is about to give way to a rebound. If you're willing to risk and experiment, you can move some portion of your investments around with the shifting financial winds, but don't lose track of the long-term. Siting on a smart investment is the easiest thing in the world, but it does take patience.
Pat Yourself on the Back
Give yourself some credit
Not everyone is even trying to prepare for their futures. The fact that you have regrets at all means that you're doing more than most. Give credit where it's due. You took some risks and they didn't all work out, but you're learning and improving. Years from now, when those lessons have paid off, the regrets you cling to now will look small next to the security that you're just now starting to build. Keep the big picture in mind and keep working.
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.