By Jon L. Ten Haagen, CFP ®
How old are you today? Have you started a serious savings plan and implemented it yet? How many years do you have until you will or want to retire comfortably? Have you thought about or created a balance sheet and budget? If not now, when?
Between the need to get started as early as possible on a planned/savings program for you and your family’s successful retirement, and the many surveys showing/stating the reality of the financial illiteracy in this country, isn’t it time to take notice of where you stand today?
I come across many people in the course of my business and far too many have not sat down and gotten serious about themselves and their families future. There are only so many years of a working career. We are living much longer these days and your saved money needs to provide income to support your lifestyle. It has been shown in many surveys that you should be saving 10-15 percent of your income and investing it in a well-diversified portfolio for you to reach your financial goals.
A recent survey by Stash, a digital investment advisor found, “There is a widespread misunderstanding among respondents on basic investing financial planning concerns.” Forty-one percent of respondents, “Do not understand that a diversified portfolio is safer than a single stock.”
When I was in school there was never any thought on the part of the educators to teach us about the stock markets, compound interest rates, diversification and the difference between fixed income and growth investments. Today, I see very little being taught in the school system about the markets, investing, saving and the various vehicles available. I get calls each year from schools and educators and political officials who are concerned about how little children are being taught in finance, investment and the markets. They are not even exposed to what a savings account or a checking account are. I am sure there are a few schools addressing these needs, but in my experience there is very few. Perhaps when you have your parent/teacher meetings it would be a good idea to ask for this kind of education.
Perhaps it is time for you to sit down with a financial planner and get your house in order. All financial planners are not created equal, so do your homework and research the ‘planners’ in your area. I would suggest you are usually better off finding someone who has the credentials, a Certified Financial Planner, and the longevity in service. Ask lots of questions. It is your hard earned money you are going to be investing, so make sure you do it right from the start. You may only need to work with a planner for a short time just to get you going in the right direction. For others it is comforting to know they are working with a professional who can guide you thru the entire process.
It doesn’t matter if you earn $25,000 or $250,000 per year. You probably need some guidance to get you going down the right path. Why not get started today? You and your family will thank you for your brilliance. Have a safe and fruitful journey and if you need a little nudge to get going or guidance to stay on the proper course give us a call.