This Year I Vow To...

Invest Smarter

If you're like many investors, the past several years have rained a world of hurt onto your portfolio. Buck up, little soldier. It's time to lick your wounds and carry on. After all, investing is about staying strong — and smart — for the long haul. The smart investor knows that there will be down times and plans accordingly. Well, we're there. Did you plan? Believe it or not, it's not too late. Resolve to find good long-term investments that'll allow you to sleep at night if a company or two does not perform to its potential.

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Skeptical optimism is the order of the day. Critically evaluate the companies you own in your portfolio. If the dogs are still barking, consider replacing them with more promising companies. For ideas, see what our Fool analysts believe are the 10 most promising companies for the future. Stocks 2003: The Investor's Guide for the Year Ahead contains their best insights, in-depth analysis, and the all-important sell criteria that'll keep the stocks from weighing down your portfolio. And it's free when you subscribe to The Motley Fool Select.

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Keep your fees in check. Investing smarter also means not overspending for trades and services. Use a discount broker that won't cut off your hard-earned returns at the knees. See how our sponsors stack up to your current broker.

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Get investment ideas: Our Fool analysts are on the case with their 10 best investment ideas for the year ahead. Sign up for Motley Fool Select and get Stocks 2003 for free!

Invest on the cheap: If you're paying more than 2% of your assets to trade, you're paying too much. Get thee to a discount broker.

More investment ideas: Check out David and Tom Gardner's investment newsletter, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, for their best stock recommendations.