Q: Should I let my emotions affect my investments?

A: Never give in to pressure from a broker to invest in a “hot” security or to sell a fund and get into another one. The key to a successful portfolio lies in planning, discipline, and reason. Emotion and impulse have no role to play. Try to stay in a security or fund for the long haul. On the other hand, when it’s time to unload a loser, then let go of it. Finally, do not fall prey to the myth of “market timing.” This is the belief that by getting into or out of a security at exactly the right moment, we can retire rich. Market timing does not work.

Instead, use investment strategies that do work: a balanced allocation of your portfolio’s assets among securities that suit your individual needs, the use of dollar-cost averaging and dividend-reinvestment programs, and a well-disciplined, long-haul approach to saving and investment.