Election Day is little more than a week away. As a citizen, you may feel the results will affect many aspects of life in this country. But as an investor, your situation probably won’t change after the votes are counted.
No matter who wins, the financial markets may well show some politically driven volatility, but that often happens around elections, and it typically doesn’t last long. But what about the longer term? How might changes in policy and new legislation affect your investment outlook?
To begin, keep in mind that many campaign promises remain just that – promises. And even when some of them are enacted, any ultimate legislation may be quite different from what was proposed on the campaign trail.
Still, sometime in the future, we could see election-related changes that could affect your investment strategy. For example, over the years, we’ve seen many adjustments in the tax rates of capital gains and stock dividends, and it’s likely these rates will change again one day. When that happens, you may need to look at the equities portion of your portfolio to see if you want to make some adjustments.
Many other changes, though, are hard to predict. It’s possible that future legislation could affect specific industries, either positively or negatively. Such moves could also influence the way you look at certain investments, but if you have a diversified portfolio that contains a broad mix of stocks, bonds, and other securities, any actions affecting one particular industry probably won’t cause you to significantly adjust holdings invested in other sectors.
In any case, while it may be a good idea to keep an eye open for things like tax rate changes or how new policies may affect different market segments, your main emphasis, in terms of your investment decisions, should remain on your goals and what you need to do to achieve them.
At least once each year, review your portfolio carefully to make sure your investments are aligned with your goals, whether they are short-term (a new car, a long vacation, and so on) or long-term (such as college for your children or a comfortable retirement). Periodically, depending on what’s happening in your life and the progress of your investment portfolio, you may need to evaluate your goals to ensure they’re prioritized appropriately to help keep you on track toward achieving what’s most important to you.
Over time, your goals may change, too. Perhaps you’ve decided that instead of retiring early and traveling around the world, you now want to turn your hobby into a business. Changing this goal may require a different investment strategy. Or you might change your mind about where you want to live – instead of staying in your home, as originally planned, you might downsize and move to a different area. Your goals may change in many ways, all of which may warrant updating your investment strategies.
Here’s the key point: You’re the one electing to make these changes. No matter what happens in this or any other election, be sure to “vote” for the strategies that have the potential for a winning outcome.