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Putting Cash Back to Work: Robert Hapanowicz Offers Seven Tips To Start Investing Again

Unprecedented market volatility had many investors gravitating to what they perceived as the security of cash. Independent financial advisor offers seven tips for getting back on the investment road.


Putting Cash Back to Work: Robert Hapanowicz Offers Seven Tips To Start Investing Again
2010-08-18
LEAWOOD, KS, August 18, 2010 (Press-News.org) With unprecedented market volatility over the past few years, many investors have gravitated to what they perceive as the relative security of cash. In fact, according to the Investment Company Institute, $2.83 trillion was invested in money market funds as of July 7, 2010. Notably, that figure is down significantly from last summer's $3.713 trillion peak.

"If you're among the investors who participated in flight to safety, getting back into an uncertain market may be difficult," says Bob Hapanowicz, founder of Pittsburgh-based Hapanowicz & Associates. "You may feel like you are stuck in neutral, suffering from what I refer to as 'paralysis by analysis.'" Hapanowicz says this happens because investors are spooked about suffering another steep loss and tend to over-analyze the endless stream of investment data and advice. Sometimes, well-intentioned efforts can actually inhibit the ability to make a decision.

For those investors ready to get back on the investment road, Hapanowicz offers seven tips. "Start off with a day trip rather than a cross country drive," he says.

1. Shore up your emergency fund. Unexpected expenses occur all the time and the current recession has underscored the importance of having a more substantial emergency fund that helps weather a major financial crisis. "It sounds like old hat, but it bears repeating, an emergency fund should be substantial enough to support you for six months," says Hapanowicz. "If you dipped into your emergency fund last year, it may feel more comfortable to get back into the market if you replenish those funds first."

2. Invest on the short end of the maturity scale. If interest rates rise, bond prices will go down because newly-issued bonds will pay higher rates than older ones. The longer a bond's maturity, the more the price will be affected by rising rates.

3. Consider a new role for bonds. "In an economy with low forecasts for growth, bonds will begin to play offensive as well as defensive portfolio roles," Hapanowicz says. For example, a six percent annual yield on a corporate bond compares favorably with what stocks might return over the next few years. The bonus is that corporate bond investors get those favorable returns for less risk than equity investors as bondholders get paid first if a company runs into trouble.

4. Embrace your father's dividends. For those investors who want to take on slightly more risk, Hapanowicz says blue chip equities that pay dividends are a good consideration. "You could receive more income from quarterly payouts than you would in interest on cash investments," he says. In addition to beating interest rates from a bank or money-market account, those stocks have growth potential that could boost long-term returns.

5. Get the most out of your savings accounts and CDs. While most investors have their savings accounts at a bank, credit union, or brokerage firm, Internet and nontraditional banking institutions often offer higher yields. "It pays to shop around," says Hapanowicz. "Your local bank may not have the best interest rates on CDs."

6. Rebalance more regularly. Many investors decide on an asset allocation once and never make another trade. As the market rises and falls, allocations will get out of whack from initial allocation levels. "Think of a portfolio that's out of balance as a car that's out of alignment," says Hapanowicz. "Sure, it still runs, but that tug to the side inhibits its optimal operation." While portfolio reviews generally take place once a year, Hapanowicz says today's market volatility requires a more frequent review.

7. Manage your emotions. "While 2010 is a new investing world, assess where you are today in terms of assets, liabilities, and abilities then write out your long- and short-term goals and your plan to achieve them," says Hapanowicz. "Stay motivated by focusing on the process of working toward your financial goals rather than the final destination."

Since 1987, Hapanowicz & Associates has provided the supervision and management of retirement assets for a variety of clients including: business owners transitioning to liquidity; employees from fortune 500 companies achieving retirement or the next phase of their lives; and plan sponsors who require a high level of personal service for their company's pension, 401(k) or other retirement plans. The firm frequently hosts independent seminars for employee groups from a single company to explain the details of their plan.

All investments involve risk. Bond investments involve the risks of price fluctuation and the issuer's credit quality. CD's are FDIC insured up to $100,000, retirement accounts up to $250,000, and offer a fixed rate of return. They do not necessarily protect against a rising cost of living. The FDIC insurance on CDs applies in the case of bank insolvency, but does not protect market value. Other investments are not insured and their principal and yield may fluctuate with market conditions. Asset allocation seeks to maximize the performance of your investment portfolio using diversification and disciplined investing. However, using an asset allocation methodology does not guarantee greater or more consistent returns or lower risk when diversifying among different asset classes.

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Robert E. Hapanowicz, Registered Representative. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. Robert E. Hapanowicz Registered Investment Advisor Representative. Hapanowicz & Associates and the Securities America companies are not affiliated. Securities America and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. These services are offered through qualified tax and legal professionals. Please consult your tax or legal advisor prior to acting on any information.

Website: http://www.hapanowicz-associates.com/

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Putting Cash Back to Work: Robert Hapanowicz Offers Seven Tips To Start Investing Again

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[Press-News.org] Putting Cash Back to Work: Robert Hapanowicz Offers Seven Tips To Start Investing Again
Unprecedented market volatility had many investors gravitating to what they perceived as the security of cash. Independent financial advisor offers seven tips for getting back on the investment road.
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