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1. Ignore hype about hot themes, sectors, stocks and funds: This chatter is a way for the investment industry to sell products. Instead of chasing the next hot trend, make sure your portfolio is diversified according to your investment goals and that you're not guessing about what's going to work in the year ahead.

2. Evaluate your investment adviser and fund managers: It's been a great year for the stock markets after a horrendous plunge last winter; has your portfolio got its fair share of the rebound? While gauging your returns, you should also assess the value you're getting for the fees you pay.



Market Outlook 2010:

  • Key to corporate bonds in 2010: Be very selective
  • Five bubbles set to burst in 2010
  • One-year clock ticking for income trusts
  • David Rosenberg: Some year-ahead prognostications
  • Greenback's slide expected to continue
  • Star stocks of the decade and Dog stocks of the decade
  • Five reasons to be bullish or bearish on markets


3. Consider trying for consistent annual returns rather than riding the market up and down every year: This style of investing is about seeking investments that offer a reasonable level of reliability in terms of providing regular gains through dividends, share price gains and bond interest. Part of the aim here is to limit losses as much as possible.

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4. Address currency risk in your U.S. and global holdings: The Canadian dollar has been strong this year and there are forecasts that it could rise higher in 2010. This will undermine returns from U.S. and global holdings unless you own hedged or currency-neutral funds or ETFs.

5. Pay down debt: The outlook for stocks is uncertain after the great results of 2009, which gives you an excuse to think about using investment dollars to reduce the amount you owe on credit cards, lines of credit and mortgages. You could easily be paying interest of as much as 5 to nearly 20 per cent on your debts; can you beat that in the markets?

For more Portfolio Stragegy see Some timely suggestions for 2010 .

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About the Author
Personal Finance Columnist

Rob Carrick has been writing about personal finance, business and economics for close to 20 years. He joined The Globe and Mail in late 1996 as an investment reporter and has been personal finance columnist since November 1998.Rob's personal finance columns appear in The Globe on Tuesday and Thursday, and his Portfolio Strategy column for investors appears on Saturday. More

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