2013 has been a pretty good year in the markets. A “buy and hold” investor could have earned well over 20% simply by staying in equities that performed no worse than the overall indexes. And an active investor following Online Trading Academy’s patent-pending strategy might have done far better by moving in and out of positions based on supply and demand zones.
As you look toward 2014, here are a few goals worth considering:
1. Lock up gains sufficient to pay your 2013 taxes—and maybe 2014 taxes, too. Of course, you’ll want to be aware of your tax picture and capital gains exposure. Perhaps you have loses that can offset the gains—remember to follow wash rules if you’re tempted to buy them back in 2014. Your tax advisor can provide details as well as additional year-end tax strategies.
2. Make a New Year’s resolution to diversify into at least one new market or asset class. Many analysts believe emerging markets may benefit from a delayed effect of the U.S. recovery—so if you believe U.S. equities are fully valued then emerging markets may be the opportunity you’re looking. Or, if you’re an equities trader, 2014 may be your year to diversify your opportunity with Forex or futures. And if you aren’t trading options, that’s also an asset class that deserves a look—if only for its risk management and income benefits. (Online Trading Academy offers advanced investor training in all these asset classes.)
3. Review the whole of 2013 and see how diligently you followed your trading plan. (You did have a trading plan, right?) Analyze what you did right and where you went off course, then resolve to do even better in the new year. Be specific: if you averaged income of $1000 per month trading equities, for example, you might want to set a goal of $1500 per month for 2014.
4. Separate from your P&L performance, analyze how successful you were at disciplining yourself to be a logical, methodical investor. There were some dramatic hiccups at several points during the overall positive trend in 2013. How did you behave? Did you pull the trigger and sell too soon? Or wait too long and see your profits evaporate? Or did you set stops, and enforce them, to keep losses small while the potential for big wins was larger? By analyzing your week points, you’ll be on your way to turning them into strengths in the coming year.
5. Invest in yourself through trading education. If you aren’t already enrolled, make 2014 your year to add Online Trading Academy’s XLT (eXtended Learning Track) in your favorite asset class—an online course that lets you share a desktop with a master trader and join a community of other investors with the same interests as your own. XLTs typically combine virtual classroom settings with trading application in the live market. There’s no better way to hone your skills as you practice in the real market and learn from the best.