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Be sure to find out how much of every dollar you invest will go to work for you and be sure to ask your advisor to. The difference between a successful investor and a novice are the goals successful investors have for their investments, and how they monitor them to make sure their money is working for them, instead of working for it.

Novices on the other hand tend to just go with the flow and hope their investments make money over time. Take the time to write down how much money you want each investment in your portfolio to make and how much you can tolerate losing before making a change. Establish a regular timeframe to review your investments.

A Common Sense Approach to Financial News

Consider developing a simple, monthly report card to keep track of your investment results, fees, and to help safeguard against fraud. This can lead to becoming emotionally attached to an investment and cause an investor to hold onto an investment for too long, or for the wrong reasons.

In order to avoid falling in love with an investment, establish a buy and sell price for each one and then be sure to execute at those buy and sell points when prompted. Just as all the music in the world stems from five pitches, and five colors combine to paint every amazing sight we see, these five financial concepts can create a sea of endless opportunities for your investments in and beyond.

Robert Laura is the Retirement Activist who is committed to changing the way people think about and prepare for every aspect of retirement.

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His nationally syndicated columns at Forbes. See More. From a comical view of historical Time magazine covers, to taking direct aim at the false messages being told on Wall Street; Jon does an Details Author : Jon R. Published on May 16, Go explore.

The Essence of Personal Finance on an Index Card

Unfortunately, many of these providers are great on selling you their services, but lousy when it comes to actually managing your money. They rarely adjust your portfolio due to economic and market cycles, corporate scandals and the like. Current scandals in the financial industry have further muddied the waters for investors.

There is fraudulent after-hours trading and Big Investors get treated differently from you and me.

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Highly revered mutual fund companies can become embroiled in scandal. What if your mutual fund company came under scrutiny? A decade ago, the risk of terrorism in the U. Personal needs have become more complicated as well. People are living longer so their money has to last longer.

Health care costs continue to go through the roof. Lives can change in an instant, so you should have the ability to get at your money if and when you need it, without being forced to pay automatic penalties. Popular investment products today such as Variable Annuities and Equity-Indexed Annuities do not provide this flexibility.

Common Sense Money Management: What Are Your First Principles of Personal Finance?

There is a better way! How well do you know your financial advisor? Do you know him or her at all? This question is important in light of the number of civil actions filed by the SEC over the past few months in its focused effort to crack down on fraud in the financial services industry.

The SEC has targeted unsavory financial advisors who engage in all sorts of unethical behavior without their clients having any idea of how their money has been put at risk. This prevents cherry-picking.

Common Sense Money Management: What are Your First Principles of Personal Finance? - Mark Koester

The World Tree Financial couple also blatantly misled its clients, telling them that the firm did not have investments in any of the same securities as their clients. When trading losses occurred, they were assigned to a wealthy client who the firm hoped would not immediately notice the loss. Does this sound like the kind of game you want to play? Are you looking for a financial advisor with integrity, not an amateur cherry-picker? Before your advisor gets hauled into court and ordered to repay all ill-gotten gains plus damages, do a little homework and find out if your planner leads a life that merits trust, not skepticism.

Jeff Voudrie, president of Common Sense Advisors , is one such planner, stating repeatedly that he puts his clients first and has a decades-long track record of impeccable integrity in his dealings. That client can see the trade in near real time. His personal life reflects stability, commitment and honor: a decades-long marriage, seven children, and heavy church involvement both in the U. Pick a family man with values to handle your money, not an unknown quantity that may or may not be busy picking cherries. He accepts a limited number of new clients in his personal investments management practice. Yet, the preponderance of articles discussing the probability of a global recession should give all of us pause.