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Variety is the Spice of Life!

John Grey, noted American author wrote in his blockbuster book "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" that when women have a problem, they call up all their friends, put up a pot of tea (or set a tee-time) and talk it out. Men however, tend to retreat to their cave and sit by themselves, working out the situation by themselves with no input from others. Clearly, in my opinion women are the superior species of this planet- they figured out that input from an outside source is crucial in solving a problem or situation. Women are smart. Men... not so much...

Ed Koch, the quirky, outspoken mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989 had a simple way of gauging if his efforts to govern were effective- he would ask. Mayor Koch was known to constantly ask his constituents... "How am I doin'?" Simple but effective, Mayor Koch figured out if he would just ask, his form of market research, he would get input that was vital to his success. Ed knew that until he set his ego aside and inquired as to others opinions, he couldn't possible know if he was on the right track or not. He would gather all the information he could by asking as many people as possible as to the issues they thought were germane to his role as Mayor, and act accordingly. Let's talk ice cream- (segue way?) if you've never had chocolate ice cream and someone gave you a bowl, you'd probable think it was the best thing ever. But, if they gave you a bowl of Haggen Daz (or my preference, the sinful Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy) to compare it to, would it taste as good? Comparatives, in every instance, set aside the shortcomings and attributes of anything you are trying to analyze. If you put your house up for sale, the sale price is largely determined by the comparative prices of houses for sale with the same attributes as yours, or the comps as they call it. Since by now you're probably trying to figure out where I'm going with all this and my publisher doesn't give me endless space in Seville Magazine, I'll get to the point.

Let's talk about your investment portfolio (really- I'm on my way to the point!) In my almost 35 years of experience speaking with folks just like you, most people have confided with me that the initial investment selection they presently hold is the same they picked many moons ago. In looking at their 401(k) for example, they looked at the choices available when they first signed up, picked a bunch of funds and let it fly. What most didn't do was to analyze the type of underlying investments before choosing or change them from the initial allocation. While I understand it can get confusing if you're not into investment analysis, there are things you can do to be more up-to-date on the internal workings of your investment picks. Large-mid-small cap, global, world investments, bonds, international are all classifications of your investments that will perform differently regardless of the overall, broad market. Knowing the internals of your investments is vital to constructing a well balanced portfolio that will give you the best shot at overall positive performance. While positive performance cannot be guaranteed when playing in this game, it's not very different than golf- you watch tutorials, read Golf Digest, take lessons... all in the interest of knocking a few strokes off your game. So I ask you... do you put at least as much effort into understanding your investments as you do your golf game?

Set it and forget it may be good for the Ronko Rotisserie (now, there's a blast from the past!), but not for your investments. It's imperative that you compare all the investment options available to you and select the best you feel will perform in today's investment environment... and change your investments when the markets change. Compare... yes, compare- you can't find the best bowl of chocolate ice cream if you have not tasted all that are available to you. Granted, you won't know if you made the right choice for a while down the road, but unless you do your research, it's no more than a guess, a pig in a poke as they say- why not utilize all you can to hopefully get the best performance you can? If you don't want to do the work, find an experienced Certified Financial Planner ™and have them do it for and with you. Just guessing or being lazy may be the easy way out, but speaking from experience, knowledge is king... or queen! See you on the tee!

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