Unsettled markets make financial decisions difficult | VailDaily.com

Unsettled markets make financial decisions difficult

Jeffrey Apps and Tracy Tutag
Vail, CO, Colorado

You may find yourself unsettled by the ups and downs of the stock market. It has become increasingly difficult to make educated decisions on what you should do with your money.

From television to next-door neighbors to Internet chat rooms, everyone seems to have an opinion, but how can you be sure you are getting the right advice? What can you do to ensure you make the right choices?

A personal financial plan may be the answer. A financial plan can help you negotiate the twists and turns of the market because your investment strategy is based on your own situation and goals, not what the market is doing.

A financial plan is a guide to help you determine where you are financially, where you want to be, and how to get there. Many people resist creating a financial plan because it seems like too much trouble. If you’ve seen your investments seesaw, now may be the time to consider putting a plan together. You can create the plan yourself or find a qualified financial professional who has the knowledge and experience to help guide your decisions. A good financial plan will look at all the pieces of your financial picture, including investment objectives, risk tolerance, budgeting, saving, credit, taxes, insurance, retirement planning, estate planning and more. Here are some questions a financial professional may ask:

n What are your investment goals? Are you saving for a long-term goal, like retirement or a child’s education? Or are you looking forward to fulfilling some more immediate goal, like starting your own business or paying for a daughter’s wedding?

How much money do you have available to invest?

How long will you keep the money invested? Can you add to your investments on a regular basis? Do you need the income from your investments for living expenses?

Do you have enough cash available in the event of an emergency?

How much can you afford to put at risk? This question is part “psychology of

investing” but also considers your age, your current income, your potential income and your total assets.

The answers to these and other important questions are the starting points of your plan.

The next step is to outline the types of investments that are appropriate for you and how much of each to invest in. Specifically, you need to decide how much to put in liquid investments, like money market funds, how much to put in dividend paying investments and how much to put in stocks. A diversified portfolio helps cushion against the ups and downs of the market.

Each of these different types of investments performs in different ways. Often some investments will be rising while others may be falling. Deciding on an appropriate mix for your particular situation can be the most important investment decision you make.

Whether you choose to create your own financial plan or seek out the help of a professional, having a plan in place can help ensure that your investment decisions are the right ones for you.

Jeffrey Apps and Tracy Tutag provide securities and investment advisory services through AXA Advisors, LLC (member NASD, SIPC), 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 212-314-4600. They also provide annuity and insurance products through AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. They can be reached in the Riverwalk in Edwards, at 926-0601 or tracy.tutag@axa-advisors.com

This material is not intended as tax or legal advice. You should consult with your personal tax or legal advisor regarding your specific situation before implementing any estate or business strategy.

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