by Nancy Osborne, COO of ERATE®
When it comes to money, dont focus too much on the little things. Sure, if you do the smaller things right chances are youll be likely to follow through on the more important larger tasks. However time is money and if you spend a significant amount of time focusing on the little things like refinancing your mortgage every time interest rates drop or attempting to increase the return on your investment accounts by a fraction of a percentage or attempting to save that same fraction on investment fees and commissions, youll risk losing sight of your financial big picture. Making only a few major decisions correctly is far more important to your financial future and overall financial health than getting many small decisions right. So be sure to heed the old adage, dont be penny wise and pound foolish. To help you keep your eye on the big picture, the following steps should assist you in staying on track:
Step 1 Do Your Research
Get your hands on as much information as possible. Between the internet, investment newspapers and periodicals and the library you shouldnt lack for solid, useful information.
Step 2 - Dont Fear Decision Making
An important step is making the decision to develop a plan and to stick to it. Making mistakes is part of the process but you must learn from them so as not to repeat them and make better decisions the next time around. If you complete step one, you will reduce the likelihood of making a very costly one.
Step 3 - Set Both Long and Short Term Goals
Establish a plan and prioritize your goals so you know where to apply the majority of your time. You need to manage where you put your investment energies just as you do in other areas of your life.
Step 4 - Be Flexible and Nimble
Recognize that there isnt one correct answer to your money and investment questions and problems. You can only make the best decision possible based on the information you have at the time. If you make the wrong choices, cut your losses quickly and move on.
Step 5 Review Your Goals and Your Progress Frequently
Once youve established and begun executing your plan, your work is not over. You must check your progress at least annually but preferably quarterly. If an investment has gone south, know when its time to sell and get out. Consult with your tax advisor if there are any tax implications for you so you may complete your sale at the most tax advantaged time. Then after some reflection, analysis and research move onto the next opportunity.
Nancy Osborne has had experience in the mortgage business for over 20 years and is a founder of both ERATE, where she is currently the COO and Progressive Capital Funding, where she served as President. She has held real estate licenses in several states and has received both the national Certified Mortgage Consultant and Certified Residential Mortgage Specialist designations. Ms. Osborne is also a primary contributing writer and content developer for ERATE.
"I am addicted to Bloomberg TV" says Nancy.