Janet Novack,  Forbes Staff

I write from D.C. about tax and retirement policy and planning.

From the Forbes 2014 Investment Guide, wealth building tips to last  you through the year.

#1

Sir John Templeton: “Invest at the point of maximum pessimism.”

#2

Don’t mistake a low P/E ratio for a value stock.

#3

Benjamin Graham: “Patience is the fund investor’s single most powerful ally.”
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#4

Let your attorneys ride shotgun, but not in the driver’s seat.

#5

Remember Enron; reduce your employer’s company stock in your 401(k).

#6

Warren Buffett: “Rule No. 1 is never lose money. Rule No. 2 is never forget Rule No. 1!”

#7

Fund a Roth IRA if you’re eligible; your money grows tax free for retirement, and in an emergency you can take your contribution back without penalty.

#8

Barry Sternlicht: Pay attention to the big themes, because they are what will help you earn ten times your money.

#9

Back a friend or relative’s startup with a convertible loan, so you share in the upside.

#10

Use commodities as a hedge against inflation.

#11

Raise the deductibles on your auto and home insurance.

#12

Form family limited partnerships to transfer assets at a tax discount.

#13

Beat death taxes in 20 states by making big gifts while you’re alive.

#14

For simple federal tax-free wealth transfer, make $14,000 annual gifts to children and grandchildren. It won’t cut into your $5.25 million lifetime exemption from gift and estate taxes.

#15

Get tax advice before settling a lawsuit.

#16

Read Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin LeFèvre.

#17

To keep peace with both relatives and the IRS, document all family loans.

#18

Peter Lynch: “Never invest in any idea you can’t illustrate  with a crayon.”

#19

View collecting as a hobby first and investment second; psychic returns can make up for a lower average return than in stocks.

#20

Add a personal items floater to your homeowner’s insurance to cover collectibles.

#21

When the bear charges, stand your ground.

#22

For protection from inflation and currency devaluation, buy the “gold you can eat”—farmland.

#23

Know your risk tolerance. Pick an asset allocation that lets you sleep at night, so you won’t panic and sell stocks at the bottom.

#24

Don’t keep too much in cash equivalents—over time, this “safe” investment barely keeps up with inflation.

#25

After setting an asset allocation, rebalance yearly;  it forces you to take profits when stocks have surged and to buy more shares when they’re cheap.

#26

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Benjamin Graham: “Adopt simple rules and stick to them.”

#27

Buy Bitcoin as a speculation or political statement, not a hedge.
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#28

Be a tax-smart investor. Hold taxable bonds in a 401(k) or IRA. Put individual stocks in taxable accounts so you can sell losers to harvest tax losses.

#29

Pay attention to the IRS’ wash sale rule when harvesting capital losses.

#30

Don’t invest in a hedge fund unless its audited results are reported in compliance with Global Investment Performance Standards.

#31

Build an emergency fund outside your 401(k).

#32

For the biggest tax break when donating collectibles to charity, make sure they’ll be displayed and not sold.

#33

Put alternative investments like real estate (but never collectibles) in your IRA.

#34

Burton Malkiel: “All index funds are not created equal. Some have unconscionably high expenses.”

#35

Keep an eye on—but don’t obsess over—mutual fund fees and expenses.

#36

Even committed indexers should use actively managed funds to buy municipal and high-yield bonds and value stocks.

#37

Yield is nice, but total return is the metric that matters.

#38

Gold is overrated as an inflation hedge—historically, its price moves are unrelated to inflation.

#39

For inflation protection, buy floating-rate corporate bonds.

#40

Don’t let the mood swings of Mr. Market coax you into speculating.

#41

Beware affinity fraud; find God, not hot investments, at your church, synagogue or mosque.

#42

Sir John Templeton: “The four most dangerous words in investing are: ‘this time it’s different.’”

#43

Don’t put more than you can afford to lose into a crowdfunded deal; startups are always risky, and the new JOBS Act reduces both paperwork and investor protection.

#44

Don’t underrate the importance of liquidity.

#45

Use Quicken or a Web service to track all your finances and see your big picture.

#46

Use different passwords for each of your online financial accounts; add optional security questions whose answers can’t be found in your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles.

#47

Write down your passwords and hide them; tell one person where they are.

#48

Don’t fight demographics—allocate a portion of your portfolio to health care and biotech stocks.

#49

Diversify globally to boost your portfolio’s risk-adjusted performance.

#50

Benjamin Graham: “Speculation is neither illegal, immoral nor (for most people) fattening to

the pocketbook.”