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Regardless of how the markets may perform, consider making the following part of your investment philosophy:

Diversification.

Many years ago, when PG&E went through it’s first bankruptcy, we had a client tell us that “I want to put all my money in PG&E stock. Sell everything and buy it.”

Good move?

PG&E did recover, but it could have been a disaster, and here we are again.

The saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has real value when it comes to investing.

In a bear or bull market, certain asset classes may perform better than others.

If your assets are mostly held in one kind of investment (say, mostly in mutual funds or mostly in CDs or money market accounts), you could be struck by stock market losses, or alternately, lose out on potential gains that other kinds of investments may be experiencing.

There is an opportunity cost as well as risk.

Asset allocation strategies are used in portfolio management. A financial professional can ask you about your goals, tolerance for risk, and assign percentages of your assets to different classes of investments.

This diversification is designed to suit your preferred investment style and your objectives.

However, there is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification and asset allocation do not protect against market risk.

Patience.

I remember a client who dropped by our office, and he said, “I want double digit returns, and I want them right now.”

Impatient investors obsess on the day-to-day doings of the stock market.

Have you ever heard of stock picking or market timin”? How about day trading?

These are all attempts to exploit short-term fluctuations in value. These investing methods might seem fun and exciting if you like to micromanage, but they could add stress and anxiety to your life, and they may be a poor alternative to a long-range investment strategy built around your life goals.

Keep in mind; there is no guaranteed strategy to accurately predict when to enter or exit the stock market.

Consistency.

Most people invest a little at a time, within their budget and with regularity. They invest $100 or $500 or more per month in their 401(k) and similar investments through payroll deduction or automatic withdrawal.

They are investing on autopilot to help themselves build wealth for retirement and long-range goals. Investing regularly (and earlier in life) helps you to take advantage of the power of compounding as well.

Following these principles may sound a bit old fashioned, but they work and work well.

If you don’t have a long-range investment strategy, get one. Help from a qualified financial professional may help to determine what strategy may be appropriate for you.

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Tom and John Mills are registered investment advisers and certified financial planners. Reach them at 254-0155. MillsWealth.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG), a registered investment adviser.

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