Happy New Year!
If you’re anything like the majority of the country, you’re watching some intense college football right about now… or sleeping off a Champagne hangover… or sweating all the work you’ll have to catch up on after all these clustered holidays… or a little bit of all of that at once.
No matter. However you ring in your new year, there’s one shared experience every single one of us will have.
Someone’s going to ask you about your resolutions.
Probably many people.
Now, I’m not really one for resolutions… Big decisions, sure. Big transitions, absolutely.
In fact, one time I decided to move states during a blizzard, after getting downsized during the Great Recession. I figured it would be something of a rebirth (assuming I survived the drive — which I did).
But New Year’s resolutions? I’ve never been a huge fan. They’ve always felt a bit forced.
And they never seem to stick. There’s a reason most gyms are madhouses the first three weeks of the year… and ghost towns by the time February closes shop.
A New Year’s health check, on the other hand? That’s a different story…
The new year may not be the ideal time to start an entirely new regimen — or open a new chapter of your life (no matter how poetic it might feel).
But it’s a great time to check up on any promises you’ve made to yourself over the previous 12 months… to give all those parts of life that need annual reviews a once-through… and a time to figure out what’s missing, that you should address sometime over the coming year.
These really shouldn’t be anything like a New Year’s resolution. It’s not about cooking in more, losing those stubborn pounds or adding a one-hour walk every day.
What is it about?
Why bother telling you when I can just show you? With your own personal New Year’s health check.
Your New Year’s Checklist
1. Rebalance your portfolio
We don’t spend a lot of time talking about stocks here — there are plenty of other places you can turn for that type of guidance. But one thing that’s glossed over by nearly everyone is the need to rebalance your portfolio — every 366 days or so.
Why every 366 days?
If you do sell any stocks, owning them for more than a year gets you a lower tax rate on your profits.
And why do you need to rebalance anyway?
Simply put, anything that’s done particularly well over the year is likely to return to the mean — and the opposite is true for anything that’s done poorly.
It’s an automatic way to sell high and buy low… while simultaneously preventing your portfolio from becoming overweight — and thus vulnerable — to any single sector or company.
Most important in our unconventional space are the benefits you can get by dedicating more of your portfolio to unconventional assets.
That diversification will serve you well whenever there are hiccups in the markets. And with the current bull market now the longest in history, hiccups in the markets are more likely this year than any other in recent memory.
2. Protect online activity — and your identity
This one is a no-brainer…
Online break-ins are becoming more and more common. Indeed, Ring — the makers of the video doorbells, bought up by Amazon — just had a massive breach that allowed hackers to see private video feeds.
Which means you’ve got to do everything in your power to protect your digital privacy.
Luckily, this one is extremely easy.
You don’t need to establish any new habits, or spend months improving your online “technique” — the way you would if you wanted to get into yoga in 2020.
Instead, you can just sign up for a VPN — our favorite is TunnelBear. That’s it.
One simple step and you’re much better protected. With a VPN, your identity is hidden inside a private server and bounced around the world so you can’t be traced. Your login info — and all your online activity — is exposed just a bit less.
3. Add a new income stream
I readily admit this one sounds the most like a regular old New Year’s resolution.
In fact, odds are good you have — or someone close to you has — had a variation of “Make more money” on a resolution list recently.
But there’s an unconventional twist to this one.
Rather than aim for a raise… or start a new job… or try to grab a promotion… you can make money with just a few steps. Then set it and forget it.
- For instance, you could sell a course on a site like Udemy… Record a couple videos once and then let the income stream flow in without any more work (unless you want to do a bit of marketing here and there)
- You can rent out your car during off-hours on Turo… or buy a used car to dedicate to Turo and build up your own fleet. After you get everything set up, keeping your rental “company” running will take up next to no time… and provide you a steady, predictable — and surprisingly robust — income stream
- You can set up a drop shipping company… which basically means creating a web page and selling goods on it. Once the page is set up, you don’t have to process the orders… or ship the goods… or really do much of anything, other than collect your checks.
The point is there are plenty of ways you can add cash to your accounts that don’t require lifestyle changes.
Indeed, they really only need an excited push at the start to get going.
And that’s what New Year’s should be about.
Because we can all change our habits for a week. The key is finding something you can complete in that amount of time and then enjoy the benefits of for the remaining 51 weeks…
Without needing to sustain the effort.
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth
P.S. It may be No. 2 on the above checklist… but in truth, if you don’t have one already, you want to get your VPN set up first. Everything else you do online is dependent on protecting your identity and making sure none of your financial information gets leaked. And there’s no better way to stay safe than with a VPN. Check out TunnelBear, our favorite provider and a company we’ve eagerly partnered with, to get the best deal on the best service out there today.
Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.
Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...