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It's that tiresome time of year when financial pundits trot out "investing lessons" from the last 12 months.

These are commonly obvious, rear-facing recaps that serve nobody.

After all, who cares if 2013 was the year of social media if you weren't in on the Twitter (TWTR) IPO or if you didn't buy Facebook (FB) at $25? And what good is calling 2013 an ugly year for emerging markets if you've already ridden Brazil down to the bottom?

So today, I'd like to give my twist on this year-end theme by making things a little more forward looking.

Here are strategies that will serve you well in 2014 — and perhaps longer — that you should have learned if you were watching something other than Carl Icahn, Twitter or Tesla in the past 12 months:

1. Buy and hold works

Vanguard sucked up $130 billion of inflows in 2012 thanks to its rather boring but effective lineup of low-cost index funds. And investors who piled in were richly rewarded in 2013, as the major indexes delivered their best run since 2003.

But if you think this was just a one-year fluke, think again. Consider the S&P 500 (SPX) has provided a total return of about 10 percent on average every year from 1926. And more recently, the total annual return of the S&P has averaged about 15 percent since 1970.

Also consider that when Mark Hulbert compiled his five-year rankings of more than 200 investment-advisory services a few months ago, the top three were ALL buy and hold strategies.

The lesson of 2013 isn't just that buy-and-hold investing worked (past tense), but that it works (present tense). Remember this before you start tinkering or fretting about valuations in 2014.

2. Forecasting doesn't work

Robert Seawright recently put together a great list of Wall Street's "best" forecasts for 2013… which all missed the mark by between 16 percent and 30 percent.

The "smart money" analysts also have poor track records with individual stocks, too. Case in point: In May, an analyst at Maxim Group who upped his price target on J.C. Penney (JCP) from $16.50 to $27 — right before Penney gave up 50 percent and currently trades under $9 a share. Deutsche Bank's forecast was almost as bad, with analysts there increasing their price target to $18 in May.

But hey, at least they only considered JCP a "hold" at the time.

Sure, some forecasters get it right. But nobody gets it right frequently enough to be depended upon — so stop using investment bank research as your primary source for buy or sell calls. It will only end in disappointment.

3. Stop buying negative yield TIPS

If you want to have a fun debate on "real" vs. perceived inflation, much in the way folks debate whether the original "Star Trek" or "The Next Generation" was the superior television series, feel free.

But please don't let your hyperventilation about hyperinflation lose you money — again — in 2014.

Consumer price data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows the rate of inflation hasn't been above 2 percent since October 2012, and hasn't been above 3 percent since December 2011.

As a result, if you invested in Treasury Inflation Protected Securities via a fund like the iShares Barclays TIPS Bond ETF (TIP) to start 2013, you lost about 9 percent of your capital vs. a 25 percent rally for the S&P 500.

But despite this, TIPS have regularly auctioned at negative yields since 2010.

Come on guys. This isn't debate club… just swallow your pride and stop losing money.

4. Be careful with long-term bond funds

The "taper" officially started this week as the Fed cut back on bond purchases.

And while no one knows precisely how the Fed's rates policy will evolve in 2014, a few months back we did get a taste of what happens with even a modest uptick in interest rates.

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Consider that from May to early July, when rates on the 10-year T-Note rose about 1 percent, the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) lost about 15 percent in principle. That's because 95 percent of the holdings are more than 25 years in duration, and the longer the duration the more susceptible bonds are to interest rate increases.

Rates have rolled back a bit, but you can bet they will rise again at some point in 2014. This rough period of rising yields in early 2013 will be instructive as to how things may play out in the New Year.

Consider this as you plot your long-term bond fund holdings in 2014.

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