Content provided by Sierra Morris,CLS Junior Research Analyst

Now that the ground has thawed and the smell of fresh cut grass is in the air, we know that summer is just around the corner. And what kicks off summer better than a road trip? Some people may like to ‘free bird’ it, but I have always been a fan of lists, organization, and agendas in all areas of my life from summer road trips to investing.

Taking a spontaneous road trip with no plans, no map, and no destination may be fun, but there are also so many ways that it can go wrong. What if you end up in a dangerous area, or your car runs out of gas because you didn’t stop and check where the next gas station would be? Without a proper financial plan the results can end up even more devastating than a summer road trip gone wrong – imagine running out of retirement savings.

In order to ensure that everything will go smoothly both with your upcoming summer road trip, as well as your personal investing, there are a few things that need to be thought of and revisited from time to time.

  1. Set a destination. Choosing a city to explore, or a retirement goal to reach, is the first step of any good agenda. How else will you decide what roads to take or which investment vehicles are most suitable?
  2. Determine any pit stops you would like to stop at along the way. Knowing that you will need to withdraw money for a college fund is just as imperative as knowing you will be losing a couple of hours of driving time to stop and see Carhenge in Alliance, NE. These set backs are normal to any trip, but need to be planned for in advance if you want to reach your goal on time.
  3. Check the weather. It is always valuable to check the weather before you leave on a trip just like it is important to know what kind of geopolitical or other noise you may need to prepare for in the short term of investing. I’ve never heard someone say that they are skipping out on a vacation due to an upcoming thunderstorm – you just bring an umbrella and hope the sun peeks through earlier than expected. The same attitude should be held with short term market volatility. When rain clouds loom in the future, throw up your hood and wait out the storm, a rainbow (and a pot of gold) may be on the other side.
  4. Refer to GPS from time to time. Sometimes there are distractions along the long and winding road to our ultimate goal – maybe a good song by the Beatles comes on and while singing along we accidentally take the wrong exit off the highway. Rather than stubbornly deciding to continue on that side road and eventually find our own way, sometimes we need to stop, check our map, ask for directions, and turn around. It isn’t uncommon to wander off the road or get distracted from our original investing plan, but we do need to remind ourselves and verify that we are on the correct road to our ultimate destination.

Arranging a summer trip can take a lot of time and energy, which is why so many people rely on travel agencies to make sure that everything runs smoothly. CLS may not specialize in knowing tourist hot spots, but we do have a whole staff of professionals who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about helping investors plan and travel through their road trip of investing and making sure they reach their final destination.