During the winter season, people tend to take it easy. They might watch a little television, or generally just sit back and relax - indoors. There's nothing wrong with that, but there are some things that one can do to be a little more productive during the winter season; things that could ultimately help someone make money and maybe even become a better investor.

  1. Learn a New Strategy or Style
    Many people don't have an investment style, per se. They may buy shares of companies or funds that sound interesting or that their broker or someone else has recommended. But there is no grand strategy or style. However, during downtime, investors could spend time analyzing different investment styles (value, growth etc.) and perhaps find one that interests them and fits their temperament, risk tolerance and investment time horizon.

    For example, some individuals may find that investing in a value fund, which purchases stocks at a low multiple of book value, earnings and cash flow to be more attractive and better able to meet their longer-term investment objectives than a fund that is focused on kicking off income. Of course, the investor might also want to go beyond learning the basics of value and other types of investing. In other words, eager investors might also try to learn about how options work, and/or how to conduct technical analysis.

    There are several potential sources for such information. The local library likely contains books on interesting subjects and strategies. As well, there are many resources on the web, and a trip to the local bookstore may also yield some interesting results that are useful and timely. (For more, see Matching Investing Risk Tolerance To Personality.)

  2. Rebalance/Diversify Your Portfolio
    When investors first open an investment account, they may have spread their money among 10 different stocks or five different mutual funds. The idea at the time was to mitigate risk. However, over time, odds are that some holdings have outperformed others. Conversely, some may have dramatically underperformed others or the overall market. The investor might use the downtime to review (and potentially rebalance) the account by bring holdings back to the original percentages.

    However, before buying or selling any holding, consider if the investment objectives have changed, or if the investment(s) that have outperformed will continue to do so. In some instances, the investor may want to "let their winners run." The investor may also want to consider any potential tax consequences of buying or selling certain securities. (To learn more, read Rebalance Your Portfolio To Stay On Track.)

  3. Take A Meeting
    The wintertime can be a terrific time for an investor to consider taking part in an investing club, where individuals get together to talk about and perhaps invest in stocks or other vehicles. The individual may also want to use the time to surf the web and perhaps take part in discussion boards (to discuss topics that might be interesting to them).

    Get-togethers and discussion boards may have the potential to inform even experienced investors about certain strategies or sector- and company-specific information that might have been hard to find elsewhere. Fair warning, however: chatrooms may also contain incorrect or misleading information, and information may be posted by individuals with a particular bias. (Learn more in Investment Clubs Offer Experience And Insight.)

  4. Read a Book
    During those cold winter months, investors might consider expanding their skill sets by reading a book. The book depends upon the individual's passion, interest and desired area of expertise. Some of the more popular books that the investor might consider checking out are:
    • "The Intelligent Investor" by Benjamin Graham
    • "Security Analysis" by Benjamin Graham/David Dodd
    • "Financial Shenanigans: How To Detect Accounting Gimmicks And Fraud In Financial Reports" by Howard Mark Schilit
    • "Stocks For The Long Run" by Jeremy Siegel
      Again, the investor's local library, bookstore and any one of a number of websites can be terrific source for books related to investing. (For more on these books and others, see Investing Books It Pays To Read.)
  5. Plan to Manage
    During the winter season, the investor might come into some money. Perhaps a relative has given a gift, or an employer has granted a bonus. Whatever the case, investors might want to use downtime to figure out how they'd like to deploy that money. For instance, investing the money in the market, some other asset or simply put it under the mattress.

    Naturally, conducting thorough research prior to deploying cash makes sense. In addition, prior to investing funds, the investor might want to spend some time and do a little soul searching and think about longer-term goals and objectives in more detail.

Bottom Line: Profit from Your Downtime
Everyone deserves a little downtime. Those who want to be a little more productive during the winter months and take advantage of that downtime, as well as potentially become a more informed investor, should consider the aforementioned tips. (For more, check out our Investing Basics Tutorial.)

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    3 Healthy Financial Habits for 2016

    ”Winning” investors don't just set it and forget it. They consistently take steps to adapt their investment plan in the face of changing markets.
  2. Investing

    How to Ballast a Portfolio with Bonds

    If January and early February performance is any guide, there’s a new normal in financial markets today: Heightened volatility.
  3. Chart Advisor

    Uptrending Stocks Dwindle, a Few Remain (EW, WEC, WR)

    The number of uptrending stocks is shrinking, but here a few that remain in uptrends.
  4. Chart Advisor

    Trade Setups Based on Descending Trend Channels (LBTYK, RRC)

    These descending trend channels have provided reliable sell signals in the past, and are giving the signal again.
  5. Retirement

    Smart Ways to Tap Your Retirement Portfolio

    A rundown of strategies, from what to liquidate first to how much to withdraw, along with their tax consquences.
  6. Chart Advisor

    How Are You Trading The Breakdown In Growth Stocks? (VOOG, IWF)

    Based on the charts of these two ETFs, bearish traders will start turning their attention to growth stocks.
  7. Retirement

    Roth IRAs Tutorial

    This comprehensive guide goes through what a Roth IRA is and how to set one up, contribute to it and withdraw from it.
  8. Chart Advisor

    Breakout Opportunity Stocks: CPA, GNRC, WWE

    After a period of contracting volatility, watch for breakouts and bigger moves to come in these stocks.
  9. Options & Futures

    What Does Quadruple Witching Mean?

    In a financial context, quadruple witching refers to the day on which contracts for stock index futures, index options, and single stock futures expire.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The ABCs of Mutual Fund Classes

    There are three main mutual fund classes, and each charges fees in a different way.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is Fibonacci retracement, and where do the ratios that are used come from?

    Fibonacci retracement is a very popular tool among technical traders and is based on the key numbers identified by mathematician ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is a derivative?

    A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is after-hours trading? Am I able to trade at this time?

    After-hours trading (AHT) refers to the buying and selling of securities on major exchanges outside of specified regular ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Does mutual fund manager tenure matter?

    Mutual fund investors have numerous items to consider when selecting a fund, including investment style, sector focus, operating ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why do financial advisors dislike target-date funds?

    Financial advisors dislike target-date funds because these funds tend to charge high fees and have limited histories. It ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do hedge funds use equity options?

    With the growth in the size and number of hedge funds over the past decade, the interest in how these funds go about generating ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  4. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  5. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
Trading Center