When you are investing, you should always have an investment policy to respect. This will help you to make the wisest financial decisions for yourself while keeping you from making potentially costly impulse investments.
Why an investment policy?
Every decision you will make will be made with something you’ve written and this will help you to make a decision without emotion. We all know that emotion is the enemy of good investment and since we are human, emotion is difficult to take out of the equation. Your investment policy will ensure that you choose the right stock or investment vehicle.
What should be included in your investment policy?
Your investment policy should define:
- How much money you will add to your account and when will you add it
- Your allocation
- when will you rebalance your account
- Buying criteria
- Selling criteria
You can personalize your investment policy to represent you. Imagine this policy as a contract with a financial manager who will use it to base his investment decisions on your behalf. Be clear and precise.
How much money will you add to your account and when will you add it
This section should explain when you will add money to your investment and how much money. I would recommend that you set automatic percentage savings from your paycheck and you should schedule it every paycheck. That way you will pay yourself first.
Your allocation will describe in what percentage you will invest in a specific market sector or geographical market. It could be 10% bonds, 25% Canada, 25% US, 10% REITS, 20% international market, 10% cash. This is only an example and this must represent your risk tolerance and your situation.
When will you rebalance your account
In this section, you will describe when you will rebalance your investment account. You can do it every month, year, or every time you add some cash. This will prevent you from rebalancing every time the market moves from your allocation. From one scheduled rebalance to the next, it’s normal for there to be some market fluctuation.
This should define a stock, EFT, funds that have to be bought by you. It can be a sector, a price drop, a low MER, etc. You can define this however you want.
In this section, you can describe when you will sell your investment. For example, if the value is up by 10%. You can also add some criteria like that you need to hold it for at least 1 years or more. You can also add other rules for yourself, such as a time limit. One year, retirement, etc…
Finally, it’s easy to write an investment policy but the must important thing is that it represents your vision of what you want for your investment. It’s really important to remove emotion out of your investment equation since the market will not have any emotion for you.
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