Passover is a good time to clean up messy investing portfolios - opinion

Go back and reassess your financial goals and dreams of how you would like your future to look, and then create a financial plan to get yourself back on track to achieve your goals and dreams.   

Gold coins found at ancient port in Caesarea (photo credit: CARLA AMIT- ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)
Gold coins found at ancient port in Caesarea
(photo credit: CARLA AMIT- ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." –Ronald Reagan

Three days after Purim, I had to drive my youngest daughter somewhere in the middle of the day. Waiting at a red light I saw someone I knew who used to work in the office next to mine.

We actually shared a wall. She usually leaves for work before 7:30 a.m., and she was just getting into her car at 1:30 p.m. so I asked, “Why such a late start?” She answered, “It’s almost Pessah, I need to get started cleaning!” I laughed and drove on. 

Well, fast forward and now it’s exactly two weeks to the holiday, and while I don’t ever panic, we have done exactly zero regarding cleaning and other preparations. Yikes. Maybe it’s time to get started? 

Keep in mind that I was raised in a home where we used to start cleaning maybe a day or two before, and really kicked it into high gear hours before the start of the holiday. 

HAVING BEEN purified from Egypt, the nation was ready to celebrate the first Passover in the Promised Land. (credit: PIQSELS)HAVING BEEN purified from Egypt, the nation was ready to celebrate the first Passover in the Promised Land. (credit: PIQSELS)

I will publicly thank one of my sisters, DS, who did all of my cleaning responsibilities one year, including my bedroom, because I needed to go out with my brother and play catch! While avoiding family responsibilities, at least we fulfilled our civic duty by helping the police catch a criminal! That’s for another article. 

As I have matured and now actually help out with the cleaning, I do it the old fashion way. No gloves. Cleanliness is measured by the number of cuts and scratches on my hands. The more pain I am in, the cleaner the house is.  

Obviously the main aspect of cleaning is to rid one’s house of Chametz. But there is another aspect mentioned by Hasidic masters. That is, that by scrubbing and scrubbing we should be 1- trying to clean ourselves spiritually, and get back to our religious equilibrium and 2- create a sense of slavery and re-establish what true freedom means.

As I have quoted previously, speaking about the aura of Seder night Rav Ezra Bick wrote, “In the modern world, we tend to take freedom for granted, and perhaps that is why it seems so shallow and empty at times. Halacha sends the Jew back into slavery every year (or perhaps it would be more correct to say that Halacha recognizes that man slips back into slavery every year), so that he can be liberated anew. Freedom is a journey, a station on the road, and without the experience of liberation, without the living memory that NOW you have just left the house of bondage, you are not really free.”

He continues, “If you do not free yourself every year, you slip back into subjugation - one either increases freedom, or becomes enslaved. At the very beginning of the seder, we cite a halachic rule: “The more one tells the story of the exodus, the more meritorious it is.” Freedom is an inner struggle, a process, a path, not a static state; and the more one relives the moment of liberation, the farther one travels on that path.” 

Independence 

For those who want true financial freedom, financial independence, now is the time to clean up your portfolio and get back to basics. Investors should use this time of the year to clean up messy portfolios. In fact it is probably more important than cleaning your windows—where there is no chametz!  

Go back and reassess your financial goals and dreams of how you would like your future to look, and then create a financial plan to get yourself back on track to achieve your goals and dreams.   

Once you have defined your goals, it’s time to look at your portfolio. Have you skewed from your optimal asset allocation? Is your portfolio a hodgepodge of random stocks that were bought on a whim, but with no underlying strategy?   

Be smart about your investments. Pick a strategy and stick with it. Owning random stocks with no strategy is a recipe for disaster, and even though you may have emotional reasons to hold onto certain positions, now is the time to put emotions aside and be more rational. Asset-allocation is the best way for most investors to grow wealth. 

The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates. 

Aaron Katsman is author of the book Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing (McGraw-Hill), and is a licensed financial professional both in the United States and Israel, and helps people who open investment accounts in the United States. Securities are offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. (www.prginc.net). Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. For more information, call (02) 624-0995 visit www.aaronkatsman.com or email [email protected]