The first rule of investing is…that there are no rules. Seriously, NO RULES! With all apologies to Mr. Buffett, there are guidelines, suggestions and simple math, but no rules.
It doesn’t always seem that way. There is no shortage of talking heads (journalists, bloggers, analysts, financial advisors, etc.) telling you what to do with your hard-earned savings. But in the end it’s your money. You can invest it (or spend it) however you see fit.
- If you want to hold stocks if they hit Japan-like bubble valuation levels. You can do that.
- If you already moved 20% into cash in anticipation of a correction that never came. You can do that.
- If you are up to your eyeballs in entrepreneurial risk and want to hold other safe assets. You can do that.
- If your career is just getting started and you’re not ready to own stocks. You can do that.
- If you want to put 5% of your portfolio into a basket of cryptocurrencies. You can do that.
As Meb Faber writes: “Remember, when Mr. Market shows up at your door, you don’t have to answer….” That being said there are some simple things you can do to improve your financial life without messing with the stock market.
- If your employer offers a match for 401(k) contributions, get every penny you can.
- If choosing between two similar investment vehicles: choose the cheaper one.
- If someone ever says an investment can’t lose or is guaranteed. Walk the other way.
- If you have have a young family, buy some low cost, term life insurance.
- If you have high rate credit card, work to eliminate that debt ASAP.
One of the best reasons to do what you think is best with your money is the fact there are no guarantees. There is no universal law that says that if you invest your money you are going to get a decent return, let alone your original investment back. The only guaranteed “return” you can count on is the difference between your income and spending, i.e. savings.
So when it comes to the stock market, you don’t have to BTFD. You can do whatever the heck you want with your money. Some pundit, blogger or even financial advisor isn’t going to have to live with your portfolio outcomes, you are. Just remember, it’s YOUR money. Do as you see fit.