With thousands of stocks, mutual funds, bonds, annuities and insurance products to choose from, it's easy to become overwhelmed when creating or adding to a portfolio. The good news? An important landmark study—which has never been disproved—shows that asset allocation, not stock picking is the most important aspect of successful investing.

Here are a few wealth-building ideas from financial experts:

  • Protect what you have with life insurance.

  • Pay off high-interest consumer debt first—it's your best investment.

  • Don't purchase an investment you don't understand.

  • Diversify—put your money in different vehicles that perform well under differing marketing conditions and are subject to different types and degrees of risk.

  • Classify your investments into short-term (money you'll need in less than five years) and long-term, and choose appropriate investment vehicles for each investment timeframe.

  • Don't try to time the market. For long-term investments, develop the philosophy of "buy and hold."

  • Set up an automatic investment program and enjoy two major benefits. First, you won't have to make a conscious decision to invest, and second, you take advantage of dollar cost averaging, which means that your monthly fixed dollar investment purchases more shares when fund share prices are low.

  • Learn how each of your investments works with each other.

  • Don't follow the herd. Resist buying an investment because everyone is talking about its stunning rise. Its next move may be downward.

  • Try to keep investment expenses down and don't ignore the tax consequences of your investments.

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Calculate the Benefits

Human Life Value Estimator
Assess the impact your earnings have on your family and other loved ones.

Retirement Savings Estimator
Determine the amount you will need to save each month to reach your goals for retirement.

Retirement Income Estimator
Determine the amount of income you will earn throughout your lifetime.

How Long will the Proceeds Last
Find out how long the proceeds from an insurance settlement will last.

Effects of Procrastination
Find out how much you can save if you start now, as opposed to starting ten years from now.

Form No. 190