Our family has a little tradition that we carry out every New Year’s Eve: dinner at a favorite steak restaurant during which each of us reads off New Year’s resolutions. Of course, nobody is required to disclose all of their resolutions, as some are a little personal and perhaps hard to accomplish.
No matter, the exercise is fun and, if taken just a little bit seriously, thought-provoking. In that spirit, I decided to draw up a list — again, not totally comprehensive — of New Year’s resolutions for my retirement planning. Feel free to ignore what makes no sense in your own world, or poach what helps.
I came up with five resolutions, which frankly surprised me because I can come up with only three for our dinner. I’d love to hear what readers come up with, so feel free to weigh in below.
Seek Out More Dividend Stocks
I bolstered my dividend portfolio this year by purchasing shares in Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and General Electric (NYSE:GE). I felt Intel had the base to be a very solid long-term dividend player, while GE was finally getting back on its feet and would start to ramp up dividend payments again.
Correct on both counts, though Intel’s share price is killing me right now.
I resolve to look for another two such stocks. What looks good? Well, I’ve written before how much I like Disney (NYSE:DIS), and I’ve also found reasons to find Home Depot (NYSE:HD) an interesting play. They might be good places to start.
Save Money on TV
I have no idea how Hulu works, and I’m not big into the Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) model, but perhaps having Verizon (NYSE:VZ) FiOs upstairs and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) downstairs is a bit much. Of course, it would be much easier if somehow VZ could convince the National Football League to allow it to carry the Sunday Ticket Package. In any case, it’s kind of nuts — and expensive — to have both. One has to go, but I’m not selling my VZ shares any time soon.
Reduce Top-Heavy Exposures
Reviewing your portfolio is a great exercise at any time, and year-end planning should get you thinking about how best to position yourself for the coming year and beyond. That often sets off the “too many eggs in one basket” warning bell for lots of people. For me, although no one position looks bloated, perhaps some slight weight reductions are in order.
What to look for? You can be segment- (technology/healthcare) or individual stock-specific. It’s a bit of a guessing game as to what “overweighted” means to you and your planning, but I plan on giving it some thought and action.
Lose the Greed Gene
One of the great investing lessons comes from a long-time adviser and friend in the form of an adage: “Pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered.” Guess what? I should’ve sold at least some Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares when they hit the magical $700 mark. I’m still ahead, and am looking forward to the coming quarterly dividends (and yes, I still hold out hope for a 5:1 stock split). But the appreciation and probable change in capital gains taxes should’ve been enough to make me remember the advice. Silly me … it won’t happen again.
Take a Couple of Flyers
This is a tough one because putting money aside for one big winner isn’t the most prudent investment advice, unless you’re these fortunate folks. So, I’m going to put a big chunk into two stocks, hopefully improving the odds or at the very least, convincing myself on the wisdom of “diversification.”
I’ve got three candidates in mind: 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), which I wrote about earlier this month; Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), a stock that continues to both amaze and frighten me with a 3,000+ P/E and up-and-down earnings; and … I may be crazy here … Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), a company that’s either going to die a slow, painful death, be broken up and rise from the ashes a stronger operation, or be swallowed by another company or private equity fund for a premium.
So there we have it: five New Year’s resolutions, all of which I’m going to try like the Dickens to fulfill sooner rather than later. Now, I need to work on those personal resolutions for dinner.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he is long VZ, INTC, GE, and AAPL.