Fidelity Investments continues to do a smart job of marketing in this tough economy with the recommendations in the February edition of its Investors Quarterly magazine.
Rather than urge investors to continue to blindly invest in equity funds, or tout the long-term performance of the stock market, the three lead stories focus on budgeting, bond funds and remaining committed to retirement savings.
Fidelity tells investors not to focus on factors that they cannot controlnamely a downward spiraling stock market, weakening economic conditions and unemployment. Instead, Fidelity asks investors to focus on what they can control, namely managing your credit, streamlining housing costs, looking for tax efficiencies and spending wisely.
Fidelity even offers ways to lower heating bills and asks investors to level with themselves about whether or not they need replacement TVs, cars or other consumer goods as frequently as they tend to gravitate to them.
One powerful example Fidelity makes is delaying purchasing a new car by one year. Rather than purchasing a car every six years, but, instead, every five, and using that one year of $447 monthly payments to invest in the stock market with a hypothetical yield of 7% a year, yields an impressive $185,883 in retirement savings over 35 years, Fidelity shows. Waiting two years would net $309,655 more for retirement.
Fidelity behavioral economist Eric Gold says, People dont like uncertainty and they tend to overreact in the process of trying to get rid of it. But taking charge of ones finances can reverse those feelings, Gold says.
Essentially, by showing people how they can do a better job of managing what Fidelity calls their personal economy, the firm is helping its customers to feel more confident about their own budget, and potentially putting them in a better position to continue to save with Fidelity.
Thus, the next article, Finding Balance With Bonds, is also very timely. Some sunshine investors overestimate their capacity to take on risk, Fidelity notes. But when markets head south, investors often learn a hard lesson about how much volatility they can really handle. Thus while fixed income returns are lower than equity, they are more predictable, Fidelity notes. The primer on bonds closes with Fidelity pointing out the merits of its lineup of bond mutual funds and money market mutual funds.
Following these lines of reasoning, Fidelitys third article, Dont Derail Your Retirement, falls very logically and more convincingly in sequence. In no uncertain terms, Fidelity urges investors not to stray from their retirement goals. Even if the recent market volatility has you concerned about losses or tempted to cut back on your saving, in a word: Dont! Keep going! Fidelity warns. Otherwise, you could jeopardize and seriously damage your own future well-being, the firm tells investors. At the very least, Fidelity recommends, invest some of your money in annuities.