We’re now halfway through 2017… and many of us have given up on the self-improvement goals we made at the start of the year.

But there’s one goal you can still achieve this year: Making yourself richer. Here are 6 mid-year (why should resolutions only happen at the start of the year, anyway?) investment resolutions that will still make you wealthier through the last half of the year.

Resolution 1: Learn to love money

If you want to be richer, you need to like money. If you think having a lot of money makes you selfish or greedy, then you’ll probably never become rich. The less you like money, the less money you will likely have.

An aversion to money – whether conscious or unconscious – will stop you from getting rich. The biggest hurdle to becoming wealthy is that voice in your head saying money is bad.

Ask yourself the following questions, to find out what you really think of money:

  • Is money the “root of all evil?”
  • Does making money take too much time and effort?
  • If I want money too badly, will other people think I’m shallow?
  • Is it bad to think money can buy happiness?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, your notions about money could be stopping you from getting rich. Wealthy people don’t think twice about money. They like it. They wouldn’t be rich if they didn’t.

So stop and consider your feelings about money. Getting more of it will be a lot easier, if you believe that “money is good.”

Resolution 2: Improve your investment knowledge

There are a lot of ways your brain prevents you from being a successful investor.

A large number of books describe investment pitfalls, or cognitive biases, that can affect investment decisions. I’ve also thoroughly covered this topic in the past.

These self-inflicted investment pitfalls include the status quo bias (feeling that “this time it’s different”), the confirmation bias (only paying attention to information that supports your viewpoint) and the Dunning-Kruger Effect (overestimating your knowledge). Bad and expensive investment decisions can stem from these cognitive biases.

Education is the best way to avoid these investment pitfalls. Our report, which covers the ten most common pitfalls and how to overcome them, is a great start. You can get a copy here.

Resolution 3: Learn from other investors’ mistakes

Experience is a great teacher. But as an investor, learning the hard way can turn out to be a very expensive lesson. (I’ve certainly done my fair share of learning, as I wrote here, when I lost US$50 million of other people’s money.) Instead of learning from your own mistakes, look to generally successful investors who’ve made some mistakes already, and learn from them.

One legendary investor, who has made his share of mistakes, is Jim Rogers. He’s a guy worth paying attention to if you want to learn something about investing. Jim is a friend of Stansberry Churchouse Research, and we’ve had the privilege of speaking with him a few times over the past year and a half. In our discussions, he’s shared invaluable investment insight.

We talked about why China is the most important market in the world in the 21st century and why the world’s debt load is going to lead to serious problems. We delved into his thoughts on bonds, gold, oil and agricultural land. And he also shared his viewpoints on owning real estate in Asia.

As a takeaway from our discussions, we’ve put together a special report on Jim’s thoughts on the market that you can download here.

Resolution 4: Sit down with your financial advisor

I firmly believe that most people can take care of their own investments and do not need a financial advisor. That’s actually one of the reasons that I co-founded Stansberry Churchouse Research. But if you have a financial advisor, you should schedule a meeting to ask a few questions. Most importantly, you should learn how they earn their money, if you don’t know already.

Specifically, figure out whether your financial advisor gets paid through commission, a flat annual fee, or charges an annual percentage based on the value of the assets she or he manages.

Then you need to weigh the fees you’ve paid in the past year against the services that you’ve received. Do you think your financial advisor’s services are worth the amount of money charged? If not, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.

If you stick with your financial advisor, find out if they’re governed by suitability or fiduciary rules. These rules can affect the quality of advice that you get and the amount of fees you pay. We’ve previously written about the difference between suitability and fiduciary rules here.

Six mid-year investment resolutions for a richer H2 2017

Resolution 5: Take stock of your winners and losers

Despite a cloud of gloom and uncertainty hanging over global markets, many of the world’s major stock markets have moved up. This means you might have some investments that have done well, too.

Now is a good time to evaluate your high performers. You might want to sell or trim your winners, if you see big returns or they’ve reached your target price. You should also ditch your winners if the fundamentals of the company have changed and the big gains are done. This will secure profits and give you cash to play with.

It’s also a good time to sell losers. This will help you dodge the return-killing demon of the value trap and avoid losing money to opportunity cost. And selling these poor performing investments frees up some cash for more promising opportunities.

Resolution 6: Dump your dangerous ETFs

Leveraged and inverse ETFs are what the financial world likes to call “weapons of mass destruction”.  Purge your portfolio of these.

Leveraged ETFs attempt to track two or three times the performance of an index. For example, SSO (the New York Stock Exchange-traded Ultra S&P 500 ETF) says that it aims to return double the S&P 500 Index. So if the S&P 500 Index rises 1 percent in a day, SSO returns 2 percent. And if the S&P 500 falls 1 percent, SSO falls 2 percent.

Inverse ETFs move oppositely to indices. For example, if the S&P 500 falls 1 percent, SH (the Short S&P 500 ETF) rises 1 percent. And if the S&P 500 rises 1 percent, SH falls 1 percent.

Leveraged and inverse ETFs use derivatives to track the performance of indices. As the name implies, derivatives are securities that “derive” their value from an underlying asset. For example, a derivative’s value can be based on how the price of gold or a stock index performs.

The downside of these ETFs is that they sometimes move in unexpected ways.

To illustrate my point, let’s say you buy a 2X leveraged ETF that tracks the return of ABC index. Let’s also say that the underlying index is at 10,000, and you buy one share of the ETF for US$100.

If ABC goes up 10 percent to 11,000 the next day, then your 2X leveraged ETF would jump 20 percent to US$120. But perhaps the following day the index goes from 11,000 to 10,000. This means that the index has dropped 9.09 percent. But your 2X leveraged ETF has declined 18.18 percent, or double the amount of the index’s decline.

If your leveraged ETF worth US$120 drops 18.18 percent, its value would go down to US$98.18. Although over our hypothetical two-day period the underlying ABC index remained unchanged (it started at 10,000 and is back at 10,000), your 2X ETF dropped 1.82 percent!

Leveraged ETFs amplify the returns of an underlying index. This means you’ll get great returns if the underlying index rises every single day for an extended period. But you’ll also lose more money than expected on down days.

Leveraged ETFs’ unexpected movements are one reason you should get rid of them. Even if the overall trend is positive, you could end up losing money anyway.

Following these six resolutions will help you make better, more informed investment decisions. And possibly help you keep more of your money.

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Kim is the founder of Stansberry Churchouse Research, a joint venture between two independent financial publishers, Singapore-based Truewealth Publishing, and Hong Kong-based Churchouse Publishing.

Kim has nearly 25 years of experience as a stock analyst, hedge fund manager, political risk consultant, and financial commentator in more than half a dozen emerging and frontier markets.

He’s been quoted in the Economist, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and Bloomberg, and has appeared on Fox Business News, China Central Television, and Bloomberg TV, and has written commentary for the Wall Street Journal, Slate.com, Salon, TheStreet.com, breakingviews.com, and other publications.

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