Investing can be overwhelming. Once you get to the point where you invest through many different products and vehicles; 401ks, IRAs, Roth IRAs, 529 plans, CDs, taxable accounts etc, it can seem to be a daunting task to manage them all. These are a few guidelines provided by Christine Benz of Morningstar to create a minimalist portfolio; one she says you can depend on.
1. Stick with the Basics: Ignore the crowd and the everyday noise of the market. Stick with low-cost, broadly diversified mutual funds with veteran management teams and great long-term reward/risk profiles.
2. Investigate One-Stop Funds: Consider Target-Date funds. These are ideal for people who do not have the time to research or monitor companies on their own. Target-Date funds are funds which grow more conservative as your goal draws near. That is, it automatically adjusts your risk profile (percentage of stocks to bonds on portfolio) as you age or go closer to retirement.
3. Index: With indexing, you accept the market’s return rather than trying to beat it. Warren Buffett recommends this to any investor who does not have the time to study companies; buy low-cost index funds and hold for the long term. You would perform well over time this way.
4. Take the Best and Leave the Rest: Pay specific attention to your asset allocation over all your investment portfolios.
5. Jot Down Why You Own Each Investment: This is a very important step. Warren Buffett says that you should be able to explain why you own any company in a simple paragraph. Christine says “By writing down why you made an investment in the first place, you’re more likely to make sure that the investment meets its original goal.If it isn’t doing what you expected by sticking with a specific investment style and producing competitive long-term returns, you’ll be ready to cut it loose.”
6. Consolidate Your Investments with a Single Firm or Supermarket: This eliminates excess complexity and paperwork.
7. Put Your Investments on Autopilot: Dollar Cost Averaging is a great strategy with long-term benefits.