• Strive to minimize your trading frequency.
  • Hold mutual funds and/or ETFs with low expense ratios.
  • Make catch-up contributions (currently $1,000) to your retirement accounts if you’re age 50+.
  • Be sure to start taking RMDs from your tax-deferred accounts when you reach age 72. The penalty for not doing so is steep.
  • Contribute at least the minimum amount needed to your retirement plan in order to get full matching contributions from your employer.
  • As retirement account contribution limits increase over time, increase the amount you sock away.
  • Work for your employer until their contributions to your retirement plan account vest. At that point, you’ll own them and be able to withdraw them from your account.
  • Consider hiring a qualified professional (like a CFA® Charterholder) to manage your investments.
  • Ensure you’re taking the right amount of risk in your investment accounts. See the previous bullet on CFA® Charterholders.
  • Once you have the right amount of risk “dialed in” to your portfolio, stick with it through thick and thin. Resist the urge to sell low. Don’t look at your account balances if need be.
  • Always have some equity exposure. It will help you maintain purchasing power over time.
  • Ensure your investing is aligned with the other pieces of your financial picture (retirement plans, debt load, tax situation, etc.).
  • If you hand your investments over to someone else to manage, hand them over to someone who is only compensated via client fees. This helps to minimize conflicts of interest.
  • Due diligence is your friend when it comes to investing; you can’t know too much about a potential investment.
  • There are lots of investing biases out there. Consider reading about them in order to minimize the odds that you’ll fall victim to them.
  • This bull market will end. Make sure you’re prepared.

Brian Littlejohn, MBA, CFP®, CFA is a fee-only financial advisor serving clients in Glenwood Springs, CO and beyond. His firm, Sherwood Investment Management, provides investment management, retirement planning, and comprehensive financial planning to help clients organize, grow, and protect their assets. Sherwood Investment Management is completely independent, acts as a fiduciary for its clients at all times, and never accepts commissions of any kind.