Personal Finance

Are Your Investments Ready for the New Year? FINRA Offers 7 Tips for 2017

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The dawn of a new year is an ideal time to assess your progress toward your investment goals, and make any needed adjustments. These 7 tips from FINRA can help you plan, stay abreast of changes in the market and their impact on your portfolio, and protect your investments:

1. If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. Are your goals current, or have they changed? Setting clear, prioritized goals-each with steps to achieve the goal, a price tag and a time frame-will help guide your investment approach.

2. Focus on your financial security. Take advantage of day-to-day opportunities to help build your finances for the long term, such as benefiting from tax breaks for college savings or retirement; paying your credit-card debt on time and in full; and setting aside some funds for the unexpected.

3. Understand the impact of higher interest rates. Yes, the Fed raised the federal funds rate and might do so again, but that alone might not change your investment strategy. There are several factors to keep in mind as you consider what action, if any, you need to take regarding rates.

4. Track and rebalance your investments. Whether you work with a broker or adviser, or you trade on your own, you should always monitor your investments to prevent minor mistakes from turning into big problems. In particular, evaluate whether it's time to rebalance your portfolio in view of your current goals and the changing investment environment.

5. Know your investment professional. Understand what the different types of investment professionals offer to help you achieve your goals. Whether you're looking for a new broker or investment adviser or just want to re-check the credentials of your current financial pro you can use FINRA BrokerCheck to obtain registration, disciplinary history and more on brokers, investment advisers and the firms that employ them.

6. Protect your money. Fraud is a growing threat, but can be avoided. Know the basic techniques of scammers and strategies to deal with them, such as how to end the conversation or ask questions and turn the tables on fraudsters.

7. Plan for a worst case. It's never too early to consider how you want your financial affairs to be managed if something happens to you. One solution is to grant a power of attorney (POA) for your investment account assets to someone you trust. Start by finding out if your financial institution has its own POA forms.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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