Finance Tips

Understanding the basic principles of finance is an important skill for almost anyone. From handling a budget in your house to knowing whether or not a coupon is a good deal, you use money on both a micro and macro scale almost every day. While the world of finance might seem complicated, there are a few basic rules you can follow to stay financially stable and make smart money decisions. You don’t need to be a Wall Street guru to follow these steps. Here are three tips you can take to the grave.

1. Diversify your portfolio.

One of the main principles of finance is to diversify your investments in order to keep them safe. When you invest in one big stock or one major item, you risk losing everything if something happens to it. For example, look at airline stocks. While travel demand was high in 2019, raising stocks for brands like Delta, American Airlines, and JetBlue, the COVID-19 pandemic stopped almost all air travel basically overnight, causing airline stocks to plummet. If these were the only companies you invested in, your portfolio probably took a major hit.

To diversify your portfolio, spread your investments across multiple industries. A diverse portfolio might include stocks in the energy sector, food service, women's dresses, and pet care. Along with different stocks, look to invest in conservative options like gold or in physical investments like real estate.

Most investments should increase in value in the long run. However, with a diverse portfolio, you shouldn’t take much of a financial hit from the ones that don’t.

2. Focus on the long run.

A common mistake that people make when investing is thinking about the short term rather than having a long view. Some people try to “play the stock market,” by buying and selling over a matter of days. Not only are these stock moves risky, but they are also stressful. Instead of trying to game the system, look for long-term investment.

Look for an investment platform that can help you set up a strong portfolio so you can save for retirement. For example, this Yieldstreet review highlights how the software is meant to help people find alternative investments and learn the ropes of finance. You may also want to consider investing in real estate, where you can live in the home you invest in or rent it out.

By investing at a young age, you can grow your money over time. You have until you retire to take risks and learn lessons that help your portfolio.

3. Don’t sell when everyone is panicking.

A few times each year, the stock market will likely dip. This may be caused by current events or financial news that seems scary at the time. When this happens, investors rush to sell their stocks, creating a snowball effect where the market keeps dropping because people keep panicking. At this point, the worst thing you can do is join them.

A major aspect of focusing on the long term is not pulling out your stocks when there are minor (or even major) dips. Stocks rebound eventually and your funds will be secure. In early March, stocks plummeted because of Coronavirus shutdowns, but by July, they were showing signs of recovery.

If you panic when everyone else is, you will lose your investment. However, by waiting for the markets to return to normal, you can protect your investments and feel comfortable no matter what happens on Wall Street.

You will make financial errors at some point in your life. For every stock that is as successful as Apple, there are also failures like RadioShack and Blockbuster. However, by investing strategically and focusing on the long run, you can keep growing your money with minimal loss.