This appeared in print as part of the story “Best Laid Plans” In 2007, the City of Columbia’s visioning document suggested that council...
I’ve found a job where I can play a meaningful role in people’s lives. I love teaching people how money works and grows over time. I have found that money is just a tool that helps people accomplish some of their most meaningful goals.
We use a five-step asset management process to help you turn your needs into specific financial goals, and then develop strategies to achieve them. First, we will begin by understanding your current financial picture. Then we can help translate your needs into specific, measureable goals so we can track your progress. After that, we will review the information we have collected and consider potential solutions and strategies. Then we will then recommend an appropriate mix of investments and services to help you achieve your goals. Last, we’ll continue to meet regularly to review your goals and progress to help ensure you stay on track.
If you’re starting out as an investor, you might feel overwhelmed. After all, there’s a lot to know. But you can get a good grip on the investment process by becoming familiar with a few basic concepts. First, know the difference between stocks and bonds. When you purchase stocks, or stock-based investments, you’ll own shares in companies. By contrast, when you purchase bonds, you are lending money to a company or a governmental unit. Barring default, you can expect regular interest payments and, when your bond matures, you can expect return of your principal. Besides knowing the “nuts and bolts” of stocks and bonds, you need to be aware of what you have to do as an investor. You must set goals — and then design a strategy for pursuing them. And you must realize that investing is a long-term process. Don’t expect to “get rich quick.” Finally, remember that all investments carry the potential for both risk and reward
Here are some to consider. By not investing enough to provide adequate income during your retirement years, you incur two types of risk. First, you risk not being able to enjoy the retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned. And second, you may risk outliving your money. Also, by not investing for growth, you might lose ground to inflation. Even at a relatively mild 3 percent annual inflation rate, your purchasing power will decline by about half in just 25 years. Finally, by not investing consistently, you may not be able to leave the type of legacy you desire, both to your family and to those charitable organizations you support. Get into the habit of investing and never lose it — because the risks of not investing are just too great.
Of course, if you enjoy your career, you may be in no hurry to retire. But you may want to put yourself in a position someday when work is optional — not mandatory. To reach that point, consider taking these steps: First, estimate your cost of retirement, taking into account the age at which you plan to retire and the type of lifestyle you envision. Then, throughout your working years, contribute as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. At the same time, try to fully fund your IRA each year. Also, control your debts as much as possible. Every dollar you don’t have to spend on debt payments could be used to help you save for retirement. These aren’t the only steps that can help you move toward a comfortable retirement, but they can certainly help get you on the right path.