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How to set yourself up for financial success in 2022 with investing

The new year is the best time to start thinking about what you want out of 2022.

Keeping your future in focus even (or perhaps especially) during the holidays can help you affirm what’s important and what you want for your future. 

But instead of setting a bunch of New Year’s resolutions that you may or may not keep, set yourself up for success in 2022 with these smart investing moves. 

1. Set realistic financial goals

We know, we know. Goal setting frequently tops these lists – but the new year is the perfect time to consider your life goals. By determining what you want in life, you can set milestones to strive for, be they saving, investing, getting married or your 10-year financial plan. Then, when you meet your goals, you can cross your milestone off your list and work toward the next one. 

2. Make room for investing in your budget

Alongside setting goals, the new year is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your budget and make some necessary changes. Whether you’ve gotten a raise, taken a pay cut, or want to trim the fat, reviewing your cash flow at least once a year can help you keep on top of your finances. But if you haven’t made room for investing before, it’s time to make this crucial change. 

Of course, you don’t have to plunge into the markets full-speed ahead – starting with your retirement account is just fine. As you get a feel for the stock market and pick up on the lingo, you can branch out into taxable accounts and alternative investments. 

3. Open a retirement fund (and max out those contributions) 

If you didn’t already know that your workplace retirement plan counts as investing, now you do. And now you have no excuse not to invest in your retirement and financial future – especially if your employer offers matching contributions. 

Every penny you save now is a penny that has a chance to experience compound growth in the years before retirement. And best of all, your growth is tax-advantaged, which means you can write off contributions against your taxable income now and pay taxes later. 

If your work doesn’t offer a retirement plan (or even if they do), you still have options. Other types of retirement accounts include traditional or Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and self-employed 401(k)s. 

Regardless of the type of account you choose, don’t forget to max out your contributions. Even if you can’t meet the new $20,500 annual limit for 401(k)s or $6,000 for IRAs, you should strive to save as much as you can. (Or at least as much your employer will match.)

4. Consider other types of investments

Retirement funds aren’t the only vehicles to build wealth over time. A taxable investment account can be a great way to dabble in the markets and grow more comfortable with investing. You can also look into other tax-advantaged accounts like 529 plans to save for your child’s education. 

If you’re not sure where to start, consider first how much you can afford to invest (and lose), your risk tolerance, and whether you’re most comfortable with stocks, bonds, or alternative investments. Of course, you can also relegate these decisions to a professional. 

5. Put your investments on autopilot

New Years’ resolutions are easy to make – and even easier to break. Instead of letting bad financial habits get the best of you in 2022, put your investments on autopilot to avoid the temptation of spending your paycheck immediately. Whether you want to invest in your retirement or taxable accounts, it’s worth taking five minutes to set up automatic transfers from your bank to your broker. 

Best of all, you don’t have to contribute a lot. If funds are tight, start with just $5 a week or a micro-investing strategy. Over time, you can increase your contributions and build your wealth a little faster. Soon, you won’t even notice the money missing – but your investment accounts will thank you.

6. Determine your risk appetite

All investing – even your retirement account – comes with some risk. But some are historically riskier than others, such as commodities, forex, and cryptocurrencies. Even some stocks are riskier than others: for instance, younger small-cap stocks are typically more volatile than well-established large-cap stocks. 

Additionally, what’s “risky” tends to change with age. As you get older, it’s often wise to shift more of your invested dollars into fixed-income instruments like bonds instead of stocks. Other factors that impact your risk tolerance include your income, debt, and dependents. 

That said, some risk is necessary for your wealth to grow, and the appropriate level of risk is part of a well-balanced portfolio. The key is to set limits for how much downside you can bear (and investing in some downside protection). 

7. Don’t forget to diversify

Diversification involves spreading your investment dollars across a wide variety of companies, industries, sectors, and investment vehicles. The wider you cast your net, the less likely you are to lose it all during a downturn. (On the other hand, casting your net too wide could stunt your growth potential – so be sure to calibrate your diversification to your needs.) 

With appropriate diversification, you can mitigate some of the risks inherent in investing and build bigger returns. From buying into ETFs to expanding into real estate investing, diversification is one key to growth – and a financially successful 2022. 

8. Take a moment to rebalance your portfolio

Whether you’re an investment veteran or a newbie, take this as your year-end reminder to keep on top of your portfolio allocation. A quick review of your investments gives you a chance to ensure your portfolio is properly weighted to your preferences and risk tolerance. 

If the balance has shifted since you last checked, you can make changes accordingly. You may also decide to sell some of your worst-performing securities to take advantage of tax-loss harvesting before tax season rolls around. Don’t forget that you can write off up to $3,000 in losses against your taxable income or investment profits!

On the other hand, if your portfolio doesn’t need any changes, at least you checked. 

9. Play the long game

A big part of financial success is playing a long-term game – including in your investments. Trading can be tempting, especially when frequently buying and selling stocks returns a profit. But the reality is that most traders lose more than they win.

To avoid becoming yet another statistic, it’s often better to identify your goals, set your strategy and reevaluate as needed. Then, invest what you can afford and are comfortable with – and only sell when it’s time to adjust your strategy. 

Playing the long game with your investments allows you to take advantage of compound interest over time. By building your wealth, and letting your wealth build more wealth, you can set yourself up for a bright, financially successful 2022 (not to mention the rest of your life). 

 

This article was written by Q.ai - Make Genius Money Moves from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

New to investing and not sure where to start? Check out this video on the basics of investing.

This material is provided for general and educational purposes only; it is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. All investments are subject to risk. Please consult an independent legal or financial advisor for specific advice about your individual situation.


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