Happy New Year!

Here are a few thoughts to consider as we begin 2012.

The majority of the money and investing related news for the past week are either focused on the past or the future. Every media outlet will have reviews of 2011 and predictions for 2012. This news trend will continue for the rest of January.

While it is helpful to look back at the past, don’t spend too much of your time looking in the rear view mirror. As you know, you may learn from the past but you cannot change it. Congratulate yourself for your successes and good decisions. Take note and learn from your mistakes.

Now is a good time to review your investment plan to make sure it is still consistent with your future needs and wants.
It is also good to look into the future. The past is certain and unchangeable. The future is uncertain and constantly changing. As you read and hear the predictions, remember there is no crystal ball. Nobody knows what will happen. This isn’t anything new. The future has never been certain, and it never will be.

But the past and the future have something in common. You have no control of either the past or the future and no power to act anytime but in the present.

My advice for 2012 is the same as it was at the beginning of 2011, or any other time. When you face an uncertain future, diversification and commitment are the keys to success.

Review your 401K and investment portfolio with a focus on your investments.

Here are a few questions you may want to consider.

  • Are your investments appropriate for you?
  • Do you have exposure to equities?
  • Do you own large, middle, and small cap funds?
  • Do you have exposure to international and emerging markets?
  • If your time horizon is less than 15 years, do you own bonds or bond funds?
  • Most important, do you have an emergency fund?
  • Finally, if you have debt do you have a plan to reduce and eliminate it?

Numerous websites are available to help you analyze your investments. Personally, I like Morningstar’s website for investors which you can find at www.morningstar.com. Once you’ve confirmed your investment choices and your investment plan commit to it and stick to it.

Money is not your life so for the rest of the year, focus on your life and have fun!

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