Editor's note: Today, we continue our holiday series with a piece from 2015. In it, Steve shares four steps to help you take control of your wealth. Also, the markets are closed tomorrow for Christmas Day... So we'll pick up again with our classic essays on Thursday. Enjoy the holiday!
I met a legend over the weekend...
He's a now-retired international sports hero.
I don't want to share his name today, because he told me quietly that he could use some financial help, and he probably wouldn't want that word out in public.
I didn't really answer him when we were together. But as I thought about it later, the right advice for him is the same advice that I would give to you.
This is serious stuff. I urge you to take it seriously, and commit these ideas to memory. Let's get started...
- Nobody will care more about your finances than you.
This is critical for you to embrace, immediately. Nobody is going to care more about your finances than you. You can't just find somebody smart and hand your money responsibilities off to them.
You can't just hand off your life and hope it goes OK – this is your life we're talking about! How many rock stars and sports stars have you read about that are broke today because they handed off this responsibility? Don't do it.
The quicker you take ultimate responsibility for your money, the quicker you will start building your legitimate fortune. And you can't ever give up that responsibility.
Let me be clear... It is all right – even smart – to work with smart people, and to delegate some of your money responsibilities to carefully chosen people. The important part is, you just can't "check out." You have to be the team captain here... the captain of your money.
- There is no magic bullet, or shortcut.
You didn't become a sports legend by taking shortcuts. You had to work harder than the next guy, learn more than him, and focus with more intensity than the next guy to achieve your goals.
If you want to invest successfully, you have to do the same thing. You can't get by on one hot tip after another. The shortcuts don't work. This leads us to the third idea...
- If you don't understand it, don't buy it.
It's easy to get dazzled by promises of big profits... It's even easier to get sucked in when the promises are accompanied by slick brochures and fast talk with a lot of words that you don't understand.
You'll save yourself a lot of loss (and time) if you remember this: If you don't understand it, don't buy it. Don't ever cheat on this one. It will cost you.
- Buy investments that are cheap, hated, AND in an uptrend.
I've built my wealth and reputation on this philosophy. In short, you can't buy what's already incredibly popular – because if you do, chances are you've already missed it. Instead, you have to buy what people are skeptical of.
Separately, waiting for an uptrend is a crucial part of this strategy as well... It helps take the risk out of the idea, and it helps confirm that your investment thesis is right.
I could go on and on about "do's" and "don'ts" when it comes to your money... But I won't.
Instead, let's leave it at these simple-but-absolutely-critical points...
- Nobody will care more about your situation than you, so never hand off your finances completely.
- There is no magic bullet or shortcut. (The "hot tip" doesn't exist.)
- If you don't understand it, don't buy it. (If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.)
- Buy investments that are cheap, hated, and in the start of an uptrend.
That's it. Remember these points, and take control of your wealth.
"Everyone has bad habits," Kim Iskyan writes. "Especially when it comes to money." And while your bad habits might not put you in the poorhouse, they can present unnecessary challenges in your financial life... Learn more here: Start Building Your Wealth Now With These Four Financial Habits.
"Wealth creates freedom," Dr. David Eifrig says. "You can earn that freedom for yourself." And it's best to get started when you're young. That's why Doc has put together his top wealth-building lessons for recent graduates... Read more here: The "Guide to Wealth" Every Young Investor Needs.
Tax-advantaged accounts can be a big help if you're saving for retirement. And these two types are some of the first ones investors should tap into...
FOLKS STILL LINE UP FOR THIS ACCLAIMED ELECTRONICS BRAND
Today, we're checking in on one of the world's most recognizable brands...
We love investing in companies with strong, popular brands. Customers stay incredibly loyal to products with a name they know and trust – and the companies can usually charge a premium price for them. Today's company is no different...
Apple (AAPL) is a $1 trillion-plus consumer-electronics giant. It's the world's largest company by market cap. And its products need no introduction... It boasts the iPhone (smartphone), iPad (tablet), and MacBook (computer). Consumers race to buy these products every time a new edition is released – like the iPhone 11, most recently. That's a great way to churn out huge, reliable sales... In the latest quarter, Apple reported sales of $64 billion, up 2% from the same period a year ago.
As you can see in today's chart, shares of AAPL have charged higher this year. The stock has roughly doubled from its January bottom, and it recently hit a fresh all-time high. As long as Apple's brand is known and loved around the world, this stock should continue higher...