‘Elect’ investments to help pursue your goals

Published 2:06 pm Friday, October 29, 2010

It’s election time again, so you take time to learn about the various candidates and their positions on the issues.

But you also need to make informed decisions in other areas of your life—such as when you “elect” the investments to help pursue your goals.

Actually, you can find some similarities in selecting candidates and choosing investments.

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Here are a few “votes” that can apply to either situation:

• Vote for vision. When you vote for political candidates, you expect that they have a solid vision for what they want to accomplish. And when you put together an investment strategy, you also need a vision of the goals you’re hoping to reach—and this overall vision should help guide your moves over the years.

• Vote for potential. When you vote for candidates, you are showing your confidence in their potential to be effective legislators. And when you choose specific investments, you are counting on their potential to help you attain your objectives.

For example, when you purchase growth-oriented investments, you are anticipating that their value will grow so that you can eventually sell them and make a profit. Of course, the price of these investments will fluctuate, and if you sell when the price is down, you could lose some or all of your principal. But if you purchase quality investment vehicles, and you hold them for the long term, you may be able to “smooth out” some of the market’s volatility and take advantage of your investments’ potential.

• Vote for suitability. In choosing a candidate, you’re looking for someone who will represent your views, as well as the best interests of your community or state. And you also want to choose investments that are suitable for your individual preferences and goals.

So, if you’re naturally a conservative investor, you won’t want a heavy exposure to riskier investments. Or, if you need a specific amount of money in a set number of years, you may want to choose an investment that offers greater protection of principal and possibly a fixed rate of return.

• Vote for clarity. Before you vote for a candidate, you’ll want to be sure you really understand his or her messages and promises. And you’ll need a similar clarity in choosing investments. Never invest in something unless you understand its risks and potential rewards.

• Vote for experience. In any election, you want to vote for someone who has the ability to carry out the office that he or she is seeking. And before you choose an investment, you should have the experience necessary to evaluate the pros and cons involved.

You can gain some of this knowledge by studying up on the investments that you’re considering, but, given the complexities of the financial world, you also may want to work with an investment professional.

As a responsible citizen, you know how important it is to make your voice heard on Election Day. As a diligent investor, you understand how important it is to “elect” the right investments for your portfolio.