If you’re just a casual swimmer, you probably don’t have to adjust your diet before jumping in. But that’s not the case with competitive swimmers, who must constantly watch what they eat and drink. You can learn a lot from swimmers’ consumption patterns — particularly if you’re an investor.
For starters, to sustain energy and stamina for a relatively long period of time, competitive swimmers need to eat easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as whole wheat, whole grains, apples and bananas. When you invest, you want to build a portfolio that is capable of “going the distance.” Consequently, you need investments that provide carbohydrate-type benefits — in other words, investments with the potential to fuel a long-term investment strategy. Such a strategy usually involves owning a mix of high-quality stocks, bonds, government securities and certificates of deposit (CDs).
Of course, competitive swimmers have to be diligent not just in what they do eat but also in what they don’t. As an investor, you, too, need to avoid the temptation of “sweets” in the form of high-yield or “hot” investment vehicles. You may find some of these investments to be alluring, but you will need to carefully weigh the extra risks involved.
While what swimmers eat, or don’t eat, is important to them, their drinking habits are also crucial. And you, as an investor, need your own type of liquidity, for at least two reasons. First, you need enough cash or cash equivalents to take advantage of new investment opportunities as they arise; without the ability to add new investments, your portfolio could start to “dehydrate.” Second, you need enough liquid investments — specifically, low-risk vehicles that offer preservation of principal — to create an emergency fund, ideally containing six to 12 months’ worth of living expenses. Without such a fund, you may be forced to dip into long-term investments to pay for unexpected costs.
So the next time you see competitive swimmers churning through their lanes, give a thought as to the type of diet that is helping propel them along — and think of the similarities to the type of “fueling” you’ll need to keep your investment strategy moving forward.
• This article was written by Edward Jones for use by Ahwatukee Foothills Edward Jones Financial Advisor Kim DeVoss, CFP. Reach her at (480) 785-4751 or Kim.DeVoss@edwardjones.com.