Bull in Financial District

Your Financial Journey Begins Here

Which one best describes you?

Nearing Retirement
Just Out of College
Need More Money
Insurance
Credit/Debt

Nearing Retirement

Despite the U.S. stock and bond markets rising significantly in value over the past eight years, downside risk is still critical when investing, especially for those who are between ages 55-70 who may be nearing retirement and may not have 20-plus years to recoup potential losses.
One way to limit risk is through traditional asset allocation. The goal is to reduce volatility on the downside for money that's needed for retirement without significantly reducing upside. Asset allocation is the most traditional approach to managing investment risk. It basically means that when one investment moves down in value, the intent is that others will move up, or stay stable, reducing risk in portfolios. This strategy has worked well, over time, and is the foundation of most portfolio management.
Insurance and insurance like-products such as annuities are another important strategy that retirees/employees should consider to manage downside risk. Most of these products provides protection of future income payments, long-term care benefits, growth potential, etc.
A well-diversed portfolio might look a little something like this:
Investment                                  Amount($)              %
Cash                                            $25,000                    7%
Short-term bonds                      $50,000                   14%
Fixed Index Annuity/bonds      $100,000                 28.5%
High-yield bonds                       $25,000                     7%
U.S. stocks                                  $100,000                  28.5%
International stocks                   $50,000                    14%
Total                                            $350,000                  100%
 

Just Out of College

The college graduating class of 2018 will enter the strongest entry-level job market in a long time. Particularly those in engineering, computer science, biotech, and industries dealing with an aging workforce like financial services. But the heck with all of that! Here are 10 invaluable pieces every recent college grad should hear:
1) Your major doesn't define who you are. More than likely you'll have many other jobs/careers in your lifetime. Many students changed majors while in college and most will change careers as well.
2) You are still young. The only thing you have to be at your age is yourself. There is no pressure to find out who you want to be or what you want to do in life. Finding your God-gifted passion takes some time.
3) Put on your big boy/girl pants. You got this! No one can hold you down. And if they try to, give them a swift kick. If you can survive college life, you can survive anything.
4) You're gonna have to jump. Everyone doesn't jump at the same. Your timeline isn't theirs. They might land a big dream job in a month. But maybe you'll get yours in a year or 5-10 years from now, but you will get there. But jump.
5) You are now your own personal brand. Be sure to market yourself wisely. Make sure you don't have wild and crazy pictures floating around on the internet that may come back to haunt you. Everyone's watching!
6) No one really knows what they're doing! Just about all of the people you look up to and admire, they're all making this life stuff up as they go. Many of them are where they are in life by mistake or luckily ran into a great opportunity. I promise.
7) Despite your degree, don't be above anything. Even though you have a degree, you're no bigger or better than anyone else. Never turn down a job because you think you're too good for it.
8) No matter what, save 10% of your income. You may not see the reasons why now but in 10, 20, or 30 years, you'll be living like no other. It's the first step to success.
9) There is no such thing as failure. They are learning experiences. So, learn from the mistakes you make and make time for the things you love.
10) Prove them wrong. Don't let anybody tell you you can't. Prove them wrong.

Need More Money

If I surveyed and asked the average person, do you live paycheck-to-paycheck and can use more money, obviously nearly 100% of them will say, "yes" and "yes" to both of those questions. Let's face it, you won't be able to invest unless you have the money to invest. If you're currently living beyond your means and have no additional savings to put to work for you, you'll never be able to build wealth.
Although I have no secrets or strategies to help you build wealth fast, I'll share with you, 9 Ways To Build Wealth If You Need More Money:
1) Be Careful Buying Vehicles. Not having a car note is one of the biggest victories anyone could have. Instead of car payments, it will allow you to invest into yourself, your Roth IRA, and your 401(k). But I know, there's nothing like a new car.
Some buyers are so eager to get through the car-buying process that they don't take the time to find out everything they can. For example, financing. Car loans come with ridiculous interest rates that no one should have to pay just to ride around in. Car loans are easily one of the highest-cost debts of many American households.
The bottom line is, if you have the opportunity to outright own your own vehicle and keep up its maintenance responsibilities, it'll be easier on your wallet over the long-term.
2) There Is Nothing Wrong With Renting. Not having a mortgage payment can afford you to build up your emergency fund and also save for retirement. Rentals offer far more flexibility. Buying a home typically means committing to a 30-year mortgage. Most people don't stay in a home for anywhere near that amount of time, but it's much harder to pick up and move from a home you own than it is to leave a rental.
What happens when you can't sell your home when you need to move due to a job change or another reason? That down payment you put down on purchasing the home is now not as attractive. In fact, you may have to put down another sizable down payment if you plan to purchase another home.
If you need flexibility, consider renting-even if the rent payment is higher than a comparable home with a mortgage payment.
3) Stop Buying Crap. I use to buy things just because I could afford it. And as time went buy, I usually end up with a much of stuff piled on top of each other. It wasn't necessary.
Ask yourself what do you really need and really don't need. Do you really need the newest 90-inch flat screen TV?No you don't!
4) Save A Percentage of Your Income. This is probably one of the best decisions you'll ever make in your life. The sooner you can start, the better it'll be for you in the long-run.
Very few people save a substantial amount for their future. It doesn't matter when you start, just start. The more you make the larger a percentage you can save. The point here is to make some steep sacrifices so that you can put more of your wealth toward investments that are right for you.
You are already setting your up for failure when you say you don't have any money. So, the only way to get out of this belief, is to change your mindset and believe that you can find a way to make more money
5) Work As Hard As You Can, Now. Although you may be in a boring job at the moment, do everything and more that's asked of you. Increase your work ethic and go above their expectations. That is how you get recognized. Give it everything that you've got. Treat the company that you work for as if you own it. Imagine that you're the CEO. How would you approach your daily duties differently if more was on the line?
It's really difficult to find great opportunities. I recommend that you focus on working hard. People around you will start to take notice. You will find doors of opportunity opening for you when you give your work all you have.
6) Invest In Your Education. This is another way that you might be able to make more money. This could be getting your degree, getting an MBA, or getting a specialized designation. I have seen and met many people with special talent but refuse to acquire licenses and courses to advance their careers. That's a shame! They do not realize how much money they're leaving on the table to better take care themselves and their families.
7) Invest In Yourself and Marketing Yourself. Depending on what industry you work in, you still need to invest in yourself. If you was a lawyer, would't it be a good idea to purchase some nice shirts, ties, and suits to look professional. Absolutely!
These days, we are always in the business of marketing ourselves. If you want a better paying job, you have to speak, look, and talk the part. To acquire those skills, you have to invest in yourself. It only take a few seconds to make a first impression.
8) Venture into Entrepreneurship. I know you've probably heard that most businesses fail within the first few years of operations. Yes, probably so but that ain't you! Whether you are thinking about starting an online business or growing your brick and mortar business, it all goes back to working hard.
Never give up on your dreams and the idea of working for yourself and instead - working for someone else for the rest of your life. To measure the true test of an entrepreneur, you should:
- Hate taking orders and working for someone
- Can't wait to put your business plan on paper and in action
- Have a niche market that you can control
- Have a product or service that is hardily available but can benefit people
- You can hardly sleep because you can't wait to get up in the morning and go to work
If you have been blessed with at least a few of these traits, there is a great opportunity that you could become a successful entrepreneur. And don't let no one tell you that it's a crazy idea. Give it a shot!
9) How About Investing In Real Estate. The real estate industry got clobbered in 2007 and people who owned multiple properties and had large mortgages more than likely loss significantly. But I sometimes tell people, catastrophe creates opportunities. And for the past five years or so, the real estate market has been doing quite well. As I look across the cities around the country, there seems like a lot of construction companies building new homes, office buildings, apartment complexes, etc.
Remember, real estate investing may not make you wealthy overnight, but it can increase your net worth in a shorter period than many other traditional investments. I've seen people purchase a fixer-upper home, rehabbing it, and possibly selling it for more than what they initially paid for the house. Doing this over and over again can net a significant amount of money if you do it correctly. This is what they call "house flipping."
another strategy that can help add wealth quickly through real estate is by purchasing multifamily properties that can produce a high monthly cash flow. The cash flow can be used to purchase other investments or more properties and create domino effect.
In conclusion, you're not going to build wealth fast by investing $50 to $100 per month in an investment account. It is a great long-term strategy while you're still working and generating income. And again, it is especially beneficial if you start investing very early and at 10%. Nevertheless, if you are willing to change your mindset and want to find better ways to build wealth fast such as the 9 tactics we just went over,  you're well on your way to generate more money.

Insurance

Life insurance is designed to provide financial security for relatives of the deceased, most commonly spouses and children. If you support someone with your income or your time - and they won't be able to provide that support for themselves without you - then you need life insurance. Life insurance is a contract between an individual (the policyholder) and an insurance company. If the policyholder experiences a loss, such as a car accident or a house fire, the policyholder files a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company. 
Life insurance is supposed to make sure that anyone who depends on the insured for income or day-to-day support will be financially provided for when the insured dies. Children rarely need it. Young adults may want to purchase it to lock in low premiums while they are healthy if they plan to get married or have children one day. 
The three main types of life insurance are term, whole and universal life; there are several variations on these categories, but term life insurance will meet most people's needs at an affordable price. 
Insurance products such as health insurance, life insurance and homeowners or renters insurance almost always make sense to buy. Beyond these large, popular categories of insurance lie many other types of policies that only a few people need or that are usually a poor use of your money. Types of insurance that fall into these categories include critical illness insurance, kidnap insurance, identity theft insurance, credit insurance, cell phone and pet insurance.
Life insurance is one of the most underutilized products in the industry. Many people use it for the wrong reason; for example, burial insurance. Yes, it's good to have money socked away just in case of unforeseen circumstances but having life insurance is economically more feasible in this case. It is also pertinent for generational wealth transfer to family members, charities, and for estate planning purposes.

Credit Card Debt

Americans are debtors, not savers, so it's important to understand your debt and learn to manage it. You're going to learn that not all debt is "bad" - but you have to learn how to use the "good" debt in your financial plan. We will also cover the top 10 reasons why people are in debt. Some of the situations are unavoidable - like losing your job or unexpected medical expenses -  but all can be managed with proper planning. 
The amount of personal debt in this country is ever-increasing, and a large part of the reason is that credit has never been easier to get. Whereas credit card issuers previously looked for customers who could repay, today card issuers relish the chance to reel in those who'll continuously charge beyond their means at 18 or 20 percent.
But debt is a complex concept. Not all of it is good - a fact a surprising number of Americans fail to realize until they're in the hole - and yet not all of it is bad. When used intelligently, debt can be of tremendous assistance in building wealth.
One of the secrets, therefore, to being smart with your money is to differentiate between good debt and bad debt. While the differences often seem logical, it is a logic that apparently is missed by many Americans.
Good debt is investment debt that creates value, such as; home mortgages, student loans, real estate loans, business loans, etc.
The concept of bad debt comes in when discussing the purpose of disposable items or durable goods using high-interest credit cards and not paying the balance in full. Bad debt is essentially buying something that goes down in value immediately, such as; a car, expensive clothes, store credit card purchases, televisions, etc. 
                      Good Debt vs Bad Debt 
             Good Debt                     Bad Debt             
             Home Mortgage             Credit Cards
             School Loans                   Store Credit Cards
  •              Real Estate Loans            Car Note
  •              Business Loans                 Buying Stuff
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Top 10 Reasons Why People Are in Debt

1) Reduced income/same expenses. Goods/Services increase but salaries & income stay the same.
2) Divorce. More than half of us do it, some more than once.
3) Poor money management. Without a monthly spending plan, you"ll have no idea where your money goes.
4) Underemployment. Underemployment is a close second, but unemployment is still worst.
5) Gambling. It is America's new entertainment but it can be addictive and hard to stop.
6) Medical Expenses. Gaps in coverage, lapsed policies and costly alternatives are serious issues.
7) Saving too little or not at all. "Pay yourself first." Do it and it will grow and be there when you need it.
8) No money - communication skills. If your spouse is a spender and you are a saver, this could cause a problem.
9) Banking on a windfall. Spending tomorrow's money today is tempting but what if it doesn't come in on time.
10) Financial illiteracy. To me, "this is the biggest problem in the country today." We need to understand money!

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