The new year is often a great time to rethink our goals. We often set all kinds of ambitious targets, fueled by the enthusiasm that comes with turning over a new annual leaf. However, we don’t have to limit our investing strategy to January. We can review it at the end of the tax year, on our birthday or whenever we find a suitable cycle.
When it comes to investing, it is important to take time and reflect on the previous year’s performance. What worked, what didn’t, and how much your knowledge and understanding of the market grew. It’s also a great time to think about your investment strategy, especially if you’re still fairly new to DIY investing. Below are some guidelines you can follow to help you put an investment strategy together.
Get a plan into place
The first step is to understand what, exactly, you’re trying to achieve through investing. It’s useful to start off with an adaptable framework in place that will guide your decision making. This will come in handy when there’s a lot of media noise about recession – or when a tweet from a certain leader of the world’s biggest economy decides to tweet something that will no doubt cause all markets, from stocks to forex, to move. Elements of your framework could encompass:
A ‘skeleton’ framework to help guide your decision making. It should include a quick guide such as the first 3 things to check when the rand goes up, or what to look out for when interest rates change
Your investment time horizon: decide what you time horizon looks like and build your strategy around that.
What makes a good plan
Your investment plan is guided by your goals and the time horizons you’ve mapped out. And you’re not investing with the aim of ‘getting rich quick’.
You’ve aligned your asset allocation strategy with your return expectations, done your homework and picked your securities accordingly.
Periodic portfolio review and rebalancing: You take the time to assess your portfolio’s performance versus you return expectations and change tack if need be.
Contingency plans for market moves: you don’t make sudden panicked moves when the market overreacts to intraday or very short-term events. Instead, you have a playbook you consult to ensure that you think clearly and carefully about your next move instead of panicking and selling off what could be valuable assets.
The role of discipline
Once you start, your biggest challenge will be implementing and sustaining your plan. This requires a great deal of focus and discipline, as well as consistency. Having a plan to follow will also help you get a better sense of your own investing preferences and your investor personality. You’ll also build a structured space that allows you to adjust and change as you grow more comfortable or gain a better understanding of market forces.