Are you taking a wild financial ride? |

Are you taking a wild financial ride?

Daily Staff Report

Do you have the stomach for investing? What is your tolerance for the wild swings of the stock market? How do you make your investment decisions? Too many people make their investment decisions based on what everyone else is doing. They follow the crowd into the hottest sectors of the market, only to suffer the consequences when those sectors take a dive. Create a planThere is a way to safeguard your financial future without worrying too much about where the market is heading. It’s called planning and you do it all the time. You plan for a vacation, a wedding and a new home. Yet too often the most important plan is neglected your plan for a financial future. A plan is simply a road map that shows where you are now, where you’re going, and how best to get there. By putting your investment decisions into a larger perspective, a financial plan helps you avoid the trap of investing based on what other people are doing instead of what is best for you.Do you need professional help?To create a comprehensive plan, many people seek the help of a qualified financial professional. This person has the knowledge and experience to help guide your key decisions regarding your financial future. The planning process begins with a lot of questions designed to determine your goals, objectives and dreams for the future and to try to anticipate future events and contingencies so that they can be included in your financial blueprint.Identify your financial pictureThe next step is constructing your financial profile. This consists of an accurate picture of your current financial status, including net worth, income, taxes, debt and other considerations. Step three creates a guideline that shows how you can get from where you are now to where you potentially want to be. This is where the guidance of your financial professional is especially useful. He or she will help you determine how much you need to save and suggest ways to help meet your financial obligations. Your financial professional will also help you select the right mix of assets (stocks, bonds, short term investments and other vehicles) that may help you meet your future goals while controlling riskMove forwardBy implementing the plan, you free yourself from making ad hoc decisions about investments. You won’t be chasing market fads because you’ll know exactly what investments are right for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t “play the market.” But it does mean that you will know exactly how much of your investment assets you can afford to put at higher risk without jeopardizing the achievement of your goals.The final step is to monitor and review your progress over time. Your goals or situation may change, and you will need to adjust and refine your plan to reflect these changes. By sticking to the plan, monitoring progress, and making changes as needed, you’ll have the best chance of achieving what you set out to accomplish.Jeffrey Apps and Tracy Tutag offer securities and investment advisory services through AXA Advisors, LLC (member NASD, SIPC) 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 212-314-4600. They offer annuity and insurance products through an insurancebrokerage affiliate, AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. They can be reached at 926-6911 or

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