Investing in 2014: The Year-End Checkup You Must Do

The end of 2013 is fast approaching, and it's a great time to look back at your performance over the past year. To improve your investing in 2014, you have to be willing to look at the mistakes you've made so that you can correct them in the future.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at four essential items on your year-end financial checkup. First, Dan notes that many investors assumed the nearly 20% gains in the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) during the first four to five months of the year would continue indefinitely, leaving themselves vulnerable to the pullback in May and June. Yet in 2013, panicking during the 8% downturn that resulted from Fed tapering fears was an even bigger trap, leaving many to miss out on big gains in the remainder of the year. As Dan points out, rate-sensitive telecoms Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) , as well as utilities Exelon (NYSE: EXC  ) and Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK  ) , have remained under pressure throughout the year, but it was definitely a mistake to assume that all stocks would suffer from higher rates. Dan closes by noting poor performance from following the hedge-fund crowd and explains how you can position yourself to take advantage of opportunities to get great returns from your investing in 2014 and beyond.

Why investing is so important
Improving your investing in 2014 will be a key to future success, so you don't want to miss out on whatever gains might be in store. Get more information by reading our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," in which The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you why investing is so important and what you need to do to get started. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

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