On Sept. 5, we observe Labor Day, which is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.
Of course, if you’re like most people, work is essential to your life, both as a means of personal fulfillment and as a necessity for achieving your financial goals, such as a comfortable retirement.
But if you’re going to attain those goals, you’ll want your investments to work as hard as you do.
For that to happen, you’ll need to take these steps:
• Know your investment objectives: Whether you work in an office, a manufacturing plant or any other venue, your goal is to produce a clearly identifiable result.
And the same should be true for the way that you invest. In other words, you should know exactly why you own every single one of your investments — because only then will you have a clear, unified strategy for achieving your desired outcomes.
• Keep investing: As a diligent worker, you show up to work every day because you know that this type of consistency is necessary for success.
A similar principle applies to your investing “career.” By investing steadily, year in and year out, you have a much better chance of reaching your objectives than if you were to take periodic breaks.
Of course, when the financial markets are volatile, it can be tempting to take a “timeout,” but this stop-and-start approach can lead to missed opportunities.
For example, if you jump out of the market when it’s down, you might miss out on the early stages of the next rally.
• Build a productive portfolio: Generally speaking, the most industrious workers are also the most productive ones.
And just as productivity is an asset in the working world, it’s important in the investment world, too.
Strive to own a mix of investments in a balanced portfolio, based on your risk tolerance, time horizon and long-term goals.
• Develop your investment skills: To truly be a good worker, you need a set of skills, such as initiative, the ability to make decisions and the willingness to work on a team.
However, throughout the course of your career, you also may need to add new technical proficiencies so that you can stay on top of developments in your field and maintain your productivity.
As an investor, you also need some “core competencies,” such as patience, discipline and the ability to prioritize goals.
But you also need to stay current on financial products, the economy, the markets and changes in tax- and investment-related laws. To help expand your knowledge base and receive timely guidance, you may want to work with a financial professional.
Labor Day comes just once a year. But by keeping your investments working hard 365 days a year, you can keep making progress toward the lifestyle you’ve envisioned.