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6 Practical Ways to Keep Your Emotions in Check When Investing

According to The Motley Fool, financial data firm Dalbar has found that “Investors tend to sell after experiencing a paper loss and start investing only after the markets have recovered their value. The devastating result of this behavior is participation in the downside while being out of the market during the rise.”

In the past, particularly as a younger investor, I noticed that I may feel inspired to invest in fast-growing, popular businesses when shares are in high demand; at other times, I may feel compelled to get rid of faltering, downward-trending companies with depressed stock prices. And, even though my feelings didn’t typically drive me to act on these feelings, I often felt anxious during times of market turbulence.

Over the years, I have become more adept at making intentional investment decisions, driven by long-term goals not short-term angst or excitement. Plus, I have learned not to let day-to-day market moves dictate my mood. Here are practical ways I have learned to keep emotions in check when investing:

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Review: Asset Allocation with a Modern Twist

For many years, Schwab has offered wealth management services, including managed portfolios and custom advice. However, the more traditional model of delivering these services at the entry level has involved packaging a diversified portfolio of mutual funds and ETFs with a minimum investment of $25,000 and asset management fee of .90%.

The automated “intelligent portfolios” allow smaller investors to gain access to advisory services with no direct charges to their accounts. Learn more about these portfolios.

How Should I Invest My 401k? 7 Steps to Making a Decision

If you invest in your 401(k) and stay invested, your account balance can grow to $1 million or more. According to CNBC, about 72,000 people have reached the status of 401(k) millionaire at the end of 2014.

But before you can accumulate a healthy retirement account balance, you need to decide how to invest your 401(k) dollars. Based on my readings, many struggle in selecting investments. Here are action steps that may bring clarity and offer guidance in making a decision:

Capital Gains Taxes: 5 Basic Things to Know

Selling a stock at a gain may be cause for celebration. But depending on my income level in a certain year and the type of account in which I held the investment, I may owe as little as 0% or as much as 20% of my profit in federal income taxes.

In general, I should focus on finding the best stocks for my portfolio and ignore the tax consequences of buying, selling, and holding investments until its time to file my taxes.

But taxes, like investment fees, can erode my investment growth and detract from my net worth. So I should consider what sorts of taxes apply to my investments (if any) so I can devise and implement a tax-efficient investment strategy.

4 Inexpensive Ways to Get College Credit

Paying for a university education is expensive, ranging from about $20,000 per year at a state university to more than $40,000 for out-of-state or private school tuition, room and board, fees, etc. From work-study programs to scholarships, there are many ways to lower overall costs.

One strategy is to earn college credit for studies outside of the university’s traditional classrooms. For example, many high school students take AP classes, which not only positions them well for admissions but also (potentially) earns college credits.

A student can reduce overall expenses by earning credit hours through AP courses and similar methods. But be sure to confirm with university admissions officers, advisors, etc. that these efforts (and associated expenses) will actually move your student closer to graduation with a bachelor’s degree.

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