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It is easy to start your own investment traditions
Laura Evans

Like all holidays, Thanksgiving has plenty of traditions, such as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (started in 1924) and football (the first broadcast Thanksgiving Day game was played between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears in 1934). Traditions are important, and you may want to establish some involving investing.

Here are a three ideas:

• Invest regularly. By definition, engaging in a tradition means performing the same acts over and over. This type of behavior can impose discipline and consistency to your investing. For example, consider contributing the same amount each month to the same investments. When the price of these investments is down, your contribution will pay for more shares — you’re “buying low.” And when the price of is up, you’ll be savvy enough to buy fewer shares. Over a long period, this technique lowers the per-share price of investments, but it does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss. To make it easier to follow through, you could set up monthly, automatic purchases from your checking or savings account.
• Increase 401(k) contributions when you get a raise. Why not make it a tradition to boost your contributions to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored plan every time your salary increases? Your 401(k) is a great way to save for retirement, as your contributions are typically made with pretax dollars, and your earnings can grow on a tax-deferred basis. Even if you don’t reach the contribution limit (which, in 2015, is $18,000, or $24,000 if you’re 50 or older), you can progress toward your retirement goals.
• Review your progress at least once a year. Pick one day a year — perhaps a “milestone” day, such as your birthday — to review your investments. Are they performing the way you had hoped? Is your portfolio properly diversified, or are there gaps you need to address? A yearly review, possibly with a financial adviser, can help keep you on track toward your objectives. Of course, you don’t need to wait 12 months before looking over your situation; you may need to adjust your holdings during the course of any given year. But by committing yourself to at least one full-scale review a year, you can greatly reduce unpleasant “surprises” while staying abreast of exactly where you are and where you’re headed.

This article was written by Edward Jones and provided by Evans, a local Jones financial adviser.

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