Foolish Resolutions

by Rick Munarriz (TMF Edible)

Don't drop the ball when the ball drops. 1999 brings up the perfect opportunity to get your financial life in order. This week in an article appearing in newspapers around the country, Fool co-founder Tom Gardner offers five great resolutions to consider.

  1. Pay off your high-interest debt aggressively this new year. Here's how to do it.

  2. Consider index funds in your retirement plans over the glitzier, costlier, and ultimately underperforming wunderfunds. Here's how to do it.

  3. Cut out the full-service middlefolk who eat away at your fiscal future. Here's how to do it.

  4. Invest in what you know -- and love. Here's how to do it.

  5. And, lastly, look to the youth and get them invested in the stock market. Here's how to do it.

Tom's work is a great feature that you won't want to miss. If your paper doesn't carry this article or the regular weekly Motley Fool column, you know what to do, don't you? That's right, move away. No? Well, my buddy Selena says that a cheaper way than packing up the U-Haul is to contact the paper and let them know you want to be Fooled.

Either way, I think there are a few resolutions that Tom forgot. Pause. Wait for pink slip. What? I'm not fired? Okay, let's move on then. In honor of the new year, I have dutifully toiled and come up with 15 more resolutions for the year ahead...

  1. When a company angers you with shoddy quality or poor service don't get mad, get short.

  2. Apply for a job as a money manager and list an index fund's past performance as your work experience. Odds are, you'd be overqualified.

  3. Walk into the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) building with a shopping cart and ask where you can find some francs and beans.

  4. Pick up a financial dictionary to brush up on market lingo. A P/E Ratio is not how high a gym class wedgie will go.

  5. In the world of mutual funds, realize that Net Asset Value is neither a net, nor an asset, nor a value.

  6. Make FoolMart your one-stop online shop. Okay, so maybe you will still need to run out to the corner to fetch some milk from time to time. What else do you need? Browse the financial mall that never sleeps. Read the Fool books. Make a folly fashion statement.

  7. Embrace the notion that the market is give and take. If you take some profits, give some of it back to charity.

  8. Brush up on tax law by attempting to do your 1040 return before you turn it over to a qualified accountant. At the very least accept that an IRA is more than just a Northern Ireland faction.

  9. Want 20/20 vision? Pick up Industry Focus 1999 to gain insight on 20 different sectors along with 20 unique stock ideas for the year ahead. You'll be as well-rounded as a cue ball at your next office party.

  10. Resolve not to lose any pounds this year -- or yen, or deutsche marks.

  11. Quit procrastinating. If you don't procrastinate, put it off as long as you can.

  12. Pick up your advance copy of Rule Breakers, Rule Makers now. Don't wait for the movie. Well, of course, if somebody (hey, isn't that James Cameron over there?), anybody (how are you doing tonight, Mr. Spielberg?), decides to bid on the film rights, we reserve the right to ask you to wait for the movie as well.

  13. Consider the Foolish Four as an investment strategy, not just something to say at the golf course.

  14. Plant a tree. A money tree. The seed is in you. All you have to is water it by absorbing as much information as you can. Prune away regularly and one day, presto! Greenery.

  15. Make it a Foolish priority to keep your mind, body, and soul Y2K compliant.

If you'd like to learn more about a particular resolution, do what most avid golfers do -- hit the links. Another great idea is to grab a polished apple and a bookbag and head out to our own Fool's School. What? Your bookbag is empty? Have we got a contest* for you! If you have a resolution that we haven't covered here, post it on our Special message board and you could win one of two autographed copies of the Fool's new book, Rule Breakers, Rule Makers. We'll also be giving away two Fool T-shirts, two copies of Industry Focus '99, and two copies of the Fool's Investment Tax Guide.

Happy Fool Year!

* No purchase necessary to enter or win. Winners will be picked at random. Motley Fool employees and their immediate families are ineligible. Void where prohibited by law.