Out of 24 companies, these are the depressing results:
10 companies ended the year negative
three companies performed better than the S&P 500
The remaining 11 companies finished the year flat to up under 12 percent
Typically, the results aren’t this poor, but they’re rarely better than what you would return by simply buying a broadly diversified investment.
So what should you do instead?
Many people we talk to locally are often confused with where to start when it comes to personal finance. Whether you’re a Marcellus lease holder, facing an upcoming retirement, or are just getting started, more people than ever are faced with the challenge of deciding how to manage their money.
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Sadly, the financial media don’t make it very easy. Here are three things to help you navigate the financial landscape:
Forecasts are for Dr. Dave — The prognosticators are out in force and are everywhere you turn. Whether in print, Jim Cramer flailing around on CNBC, or a friend at a party, you’re sure to run into confident-sounding predictions this month. Remember! That’s all they are — predictions. Unfortunately, they’re masked with confidence and made to sound as if they’re gospel.
Focus on what you can control — Many people spend more time planning for vacation than for retirement. Sadly, the financial press does do a good job covering financial planning topics, but they bury them behind salacious headlines. This leads many people to put more focus on areas well outside their control while ignoring things they can control. Simple things matter. For example, you’ll get much more bang for your buck paying down high-interest credit card debt, increasing your 401k contribution, or focusing on retirement plans than you will guessing which stock will become the next Google.
Take advantage of 2015 — There actually are several things that a new year does bring about for you to take advantage of financially. Limits for many retirement plans have increased with the new year. Take this time to bump up your payroll contributions. Although it’s a new calendar year, you may be able to contribute to IRAs, Roth IRAs and Health Savings accounts through April 15 and get credit for it on last year’s taxes.
These are just some of the options to consider focusing on in the new year. Believe me. You’ll be much farther ahead than if you spend endless hours trying to guess what the markets will do.