New Year’s Resolutions – Part 2

In the late 70’s it was popular to follow many motivational speakers who promoted the idea of creating success by maintaining a positive mental attitude, or PMA. I knew many who put notes on their mirrors and fridges, reminding them to maintain a PMA. I clearly remember one day talking to my Dad about the PMA craze and a book I was reading on the subject. His quick response was “A positive attitude is worthless without positive actions.”

The New Year is a traditional time to set resolutions. A few weeks later in January is unfortunately a time when most of those resolutions fall onto the heap of forgotten goals and dreams. Like the PMA craze, we want to be better but many have a difficult time following through.

I work with many successful investors who would not be considered financial experts, yet managed to build substantial fortunes on relatively average incomes. I have spent some time compiling a list of actions my successful clients have taken throughout their lives and offer some of them here as possible New Year’s resolutions for others. If there is something here you are not doing, don’t just think of it as a good idea for a resolution – take my Dad’s advice and follow through with real action.

1 – Have a written plan for where you want to be and how you are going to get there. Be realistic about your needs and wants and adjust your plan as needed. 2 – Establish a systematic savings/investing plan and implement it beginning today. 3 – Do not live above your means or even at your means. Live below your means, saving the excess for future opportunities or a rainy day. 4 – Never borrow money unless doing so will enrich your financial situation, not weaken it. 5 – Create an investment portfolio that wisely manages needs and risk. Keep it simple, sticking with things you can reasonably understand. 6 – Find someone outside of your own home to consult with before making major financial or investment decisions. Sometimes a financial advisor’s most important job is to prevent you from doing something foolish when you are under stress. 7 – Don’t be such a cheapskate that you can’t enjoy life. If you’ve saved and invested well, you deserve to be able to spend it. 8 – Lose the negative attitude so prevalent these days. What good is a life filled with worry and fear? Have faith in yourself, your fellow man, and your nation. After almost 250 years the message of America is one of tremendous success over occasional trials. 9 – Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Successful people understand failing is sometimes part of life, but learning from it brings future success. 10 - And finally, be very careful where you get your information. In our age of information we have unfortunately become a society of great misinformation.

Resolve to make 2015 the year you take all those sticky notes off your mirror and put them into action. Happy New Year!