Go through the following list and get excited about each. Some of these have already been addressed throughout the series, but there are plenty that could be considered a new adventure in your financial journey!
The 10 Steps to Creating your long game
Start at the End. Remember in our Empire-ing exercise, we focused on the fruits of our Long Game – what did we build, create and bring to life over the course of our lifetime? Now, go back to your Empire-ing exercise to work on the colorful map to your lifetime goals. How long is your investment horizon? If you’re 40 now, consider that you’ll be investing for 20 to 50 more years!!!
Pay debt down: Take a close look at the carrying costs of your debt. It’s important that your after-tax cost of borrowing be LESS than your after tax return on your investments. For example, if that credit card debt is running you 17% a year, changes are very slim that you’ll be able to make that kind of return in the markets. Pay off your debt first. Alternatively, if your mortgage rate is 6% and you’re in the 35% tax bracket, your true cost to borrow is around 4%. You may consider value investing for the long term a great strategy.
Safety net: Have 6 months expenses in a savings account. You just do not know how life can hit you.
Coverage: Have your insurance bases covered.
Risk: Figure out your appetite for risk. (And by the way, women are not adverse to risk, that’s a myth. Think about it—many of us end up taking on humanity’s biggest risk, having children!) Try one of the risk calculators available through a Google search. Here’s a good one: What is My Risk Tolerance
Allocation: Determine how your assets should be allocated using the Divine Asset Allocation calculation:
115 minus your current age = % allocation in stocks (if you’re 35: 115-35 = 80%) Women live longer and require the extra growth power of stocks.
The balance in fixed income and alternatives.
Educate: This week, read five articles every morning with a focus on investment. Set up an alert or simply read a financial daily (Wall Street Journal, NYT Business Section, BusinessInsider.com are some good ones) Five articles is not a lot; it should take maybe 20 minutes of your day. This exercise will familiarize you with currencies, commodities, equities, bonds, funds and issues surrounding the economy. Try to avoid articles with “ten stocks to buy now!” and “three ideas for a wealthy retirement!” This is noise.
Seek Value: Challenge yourself to list ten public companies that you trust—really trust – with your spending dollar. Solid companies with solid balance sheets and solid management will, over time, outperform and deliver value to the investor. Brands you love are good starting points. Dividend paying companies are a huge plus. Do your favorite companies have a diverse board of directors? Are there women in the “C” Suite? Companies with diversity at the top have been proven to outperform their peers over time. Research your list this week on Morningstar.com or Yahoo Finance.
Automate: Use tools that can force you to be consistent in the funding of your investment strategies --- most of us can manage to set up an automated debit of our checking account or even set up our paychecks to automatically send a portion of our income to our investment account.
Socialize: Join a network of like-minded women or establish your own investment group. Talk about strategies for successful investing, tools, advisors you appreciate. Create a circle of Empire-ing women that will keep you informed, confident and consistent.
The Long Game is all about consistency; being consistent in our strategy of investment and being consistent in funding that strategy. Mostly, the Long Game is about ignoring all the noise around you: the news, the gurus, the fear, the greed, the chicken littles.
Grab your journal to reflect on what you've discovered this week.
How did this week’s content & action make you feel?
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