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Blog » 2012 » December » SEC, FINRA Offer 5 Tips to Review Your Investment Plan At Year End

SEC, FINRA Offer 5 Tips to Review Your Investment Plan At Year End

End of Year is the Perfect Time to Review Your Investment Plan, Says SEC and FINRA

The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have released a joint investor alert advising investors to review their investment plans and portfolios prior to the year’s end.

The alert outlines five key focus areas, which regulators say investors should consider during any review.

Asset Allocation

  • "The end of the year is a reasonable time to review your overall investment portfolio and evaluate your existing asset allocation," stated FINRA and the SEC. "By including asset categories whose investment returns move up and down under different market conditions, you might be able to better protect your overall investment portfolio from significant losses or price swings."

Rebalancing

  • Some investments grow faster than others, and the resulting changes can cause your portfolio to drift away from your desired asset allocation mix. Rebalancing enables you to adjust your investment portfolio to ensure you aren’t overemphasizing one or more asset categories. For tips on how to rebalance, read the full investor alert here.

Tax Considerations

  • "As you review your investment portfolio at the end of the year, it is natural to consider your investment planning for the year ahead," wrote the regulators in the alert. "If you are considering selling securities, it may be worthwhile to weigh the potential effects of current tax rates on your investments, including whether selling your securities will trigger capital gains or other taxes."

The SEC and FINRA recommend investors consult their tax advisors or visit the IRS website to learn more about how tax rates, including any potential legislative changes, could impact their finances.

Investment Professional

  • Checking the background of a broker or investment advisor before trusting him or her with your money is a key step in avoiding investment fraud. Research the professional and his/her firm using free online tools, such as FINRA’s BrokerCheck or the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website.

Financial Statements

  • FINRA and the SEC recommend you place all of your important financial documents in a safe place where your trusted family members can find them in the event of an emergency. "Consider preparing a list identifying these records, including a list of financial accounts and all user names and passwords, and their location," advises the alert.

For additionaltips on how to review your investments and accounts on a regular basis, click here.

"The end of the year is a great time to take stock of your financial situation and make sure your investment plan is meeting your needs," said Gerri Walsh, FINRA's Vice President for Investor Education. "Taking some time to carefully manage your investment portfolio can pay dividends in the coming year."

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