Should I be investing more aggressively?


There’s no way to know the answer to that without reviewing your individual circumstances and financial goals. However, if you are investing too conservatively, it can have a profound effect on your long-term financial security. That’s particularly true for women. According to a U.S. Department of Labor study (“Women and Retirement Savings,” October 2008), women often start saving later, save less, and invest more conservatively than men, which decreases their chances of having enough income in retirement.

How you should be investing depends on many factors, such as: 1) How able are you to tolerate risk? 2) How soon do you hope to achieve your financial goals? 3) How much will you need to save for important goals such as retirement? 4) What rate of return would you need to try to reach your goals? and 5) Is income, growth, or safety most important to you?

If you wonder whether you’re invested appropriately, the first step is to get some answers to those questions. You don’t have to become a financial expert to develop a solid investment plan. Even many highly paid executives are often uncertain when it comes to money questions, and seek out expert help to get those questions answered.

Reluctance to invest in the stock market is often the result of financial illiteracy, according to a 2010 Library of Congress study prepared for the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Behavioral Patterns and Pitfalls of U.S. Investors”). If that’s true for you, becoming more knowledgeable about investing basics and understanding how they apply to you is the first step toward having a sound financial plan.