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Your investment plan is inadequate if it doesn’t satisfactorily answer all of these questions!

Where are you now?

  • How much do you pay annually in direct and hidden investing costs?
  • What risks are you taking (is that too little or too much)?
  • What services do you really want and need?
  • Are you getting your money’s worth (i.e., is what you receive worth the cost)?
  • Is your advisor a fiduciary? If not, are you aware of all conflicts of interest?

Where are you going?

  • Why are you investing? (What are you trying to accomplish? What is your objective?)
  • How much capital must you accumulate to realize your financial objective?
  • What capital resources do you have available (now and in the future) to dedicate solely to this investment objective?
  • How much time do you have to meet your objective?
  • What rate of return do you expect from your investments? Is that realistic?
  • Are your goals realistic considering the available capital and time?

How will you get there?

  • Is your investment plan written, realistic, and customized to your unique situation?
  • Does your plan include an Investment Policy Statement that describes and quantifies your goals, identifies the appropriate level of risk, and explains your investment strategy?
  • What asset classes should you use and how much should you allocate to each one?
    • When should you rebalance your asset mix?
  • Have you and your advisor defined your separate roles and responsibilities?
  • Are you confident enough in your plan and how it works to be able to stay the course during severe market conditions?

Are you getting there?

  • How often do you thoroughly review your portfolio? Is that enough?
  • What was your rate of return last year? Does that include investment fees and expenses?
    • How did your rate of return compare to the market as a whole?
  • How do you measure success? What benchmarks do you use to judge your progress?
  • Are you on track to meet your goals?
  • How have recent events in the stock and bond markets affected your planning?