Financial Planning: Make Your Money Work For You

In order to achieve your financial goals, you have to successfully manage your personal finances. How do you do you manage your debt? Increase your net worth? Invest in growth assets, securities, and money market funds? Understand the stock market?

According to Kim Brown, president, JNBA Financial Advisors, the backbone of anyone’s financial picture should be a well-designed financial plan. “We all know that life throws curve balls, and planning can go a long way in helping you navigate those unexpected events as well as help ensure your ability to achieve long term goals and objectives,” she comments. Sit down and evaluate where you are today, and where you’re trying to go. A financial advisor can help construct a plan of action that aligns with your goals and objectives. 

At JNBA, they address six key areas: financial position, retirement and goal-oriented planning, investment management, risk management (insurance), estate and legacy planning, and tax planning. “Working with outside professionals in the areas of tax, estate planning, and risk management, we quarterback these relationships to maintain a thorough understanding of a client’s situation and provide end-to-end service in all aspects of his or her financial life,” she explains. 

When seeking financial advice, ask questions to make sure your advisor is held to the same fiduciary standard that requires many financial planners—including those at JNBA—to act in the best interest of their clients. 

The earlier in life you start to look at the big picture, the better.

According to Bruce Helmer, financial advisor and co-founder of Wealth Enhancement Group, “If people in their thirties invest 10 percent of their income consistently into a well diversified portfolio, they will likely have happy, financially-successful retirements.” 

The key is to pay yourself first, then live on the remainder, he says. Another solid piece of advice is to have an emergency fund in an amount to cover four to six months of living expenses.

“Unfortunately it is not uncommon that people in their 30s and even 40s haven’t created a true plan for the future because they have not yet made planning a priority,” says Brown of JNBA. “Between life commitments to work and family, they simply do not make the time to address their financial lives.  Having those conversations with an advisor and creating a financial plan to prepare for your future and the unexpected can prevent a crisis and increase the chances for success.”

Develop a budget to determine how much you can save, Brown says. Once you’ve established a budget and a long-term financial plan, how do you know where to put your money? If you’re saving for a long-term goal, such as retirement, it makes sense to put some of your money in stocks, but it’s also important to consider diversification into other areas such as bonds, commodities, and real estate. So what if an investment suddenly flops, or the market takes an unexpected turn? Do you bail? 

Due to human nature, there will always be periods of financial euphoria and times of distress, Brown comments. “We are now in year seven of this bull market, so stock valuations have certainly gotten stretched,” she says. “Where it goes from here depends on a number of factors, many of which the market is trying to digest currently (valuations, global economic disparities, geo-political concerns, interest rate policy on the part of the Fed, etc.).” 

With interest rates as low as they’ve been for a number of years, investors are asking, ‘If not stocks, then what?’ 

“We believe we are in the more mature phase of the expansion; one characterized by additional volatility and uneven progress,” Brown says. “And one thing we know for sure: there will be painful corrections and bear markets, just as there have been since stocks started trading years ago. However, keeping the long-term picture in mind, stocks tend to be profitable over intermediate to longer periods of time due to their earnings ability.”

An investor should be diversified into various types of holdings, including some cash, to buffer against stock market volatility. At the end of the day, though, personal finance goes beyond saving and investing—it includes having a disciplined plan that evaluates all aspects of your life. A financial advisor can help customize this plan to best meet your needs.

Photo courtesy of Monkey Business – Fotolia.com

Financial Spotlight: Access Financial Services, Inc.

Access Financial Services
From left to right: Brant Kairies, President and Chief Investment Officer; Steve Kairies, Founder & Chief Financial Officer; and Kate Noel, Financial Advisor
Photo courtesy of Access Financial Services, Inc.

Author David Campbell stated: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably wind up somewhere else.” 

Nowhere is that statement more true than with financial planning. An experienced   financial planner can help you determine where you’re going and develop a custom-tailored strategy to help you get there. At Minneapolis-based Access Financial Services, Inc., experienced financial advisors help clients achieve financial goals while remaining flexible enough to accommodate an always-evolving life. 

“We believe in financial planning because it works,” says Access Financial Services, Inc. President and Chief Investment Officer, Brant Kairies. “Financial planning isn’t a one-time event, but rather a deliberate and continuous process, with benefits accruing over time as the rest of life is happening.” 

Without a financial road map in place, “your financial wellbeing becomes increasingly uncertain and exposed to a growing risk of financial failure,” he says. (Coping with the unexpected is just one piece of big picture planning.) 

For over 25 years, Access Financial Services, Inc. has helped clients maximize wealth accumulation and financial security by reviewing income, assets, and liabilities, assessing tax obligations, and examining estate plans. 

“We take a more comprehensive, customized, and integrated approach to financial planning,” Kairies says. “We also tend to put a higher degree of emphasis on protection and risk management than most firms.” 

The team spends time gathering and analyzing their clients’ financial lives as well as their wants, needs, values, dreams, and goals. Once custom strategies have been suggested and implemented, they carefully monitor individual investments within their clients’ portfolios, overall asset allocation at the portfolio level, and portfolio performance. Relationships are built upon open communication, diligent follow-through, respect, and mutual trust, often spanning decades and across generations. For more information, call 952-885-2731 or visit AccessAFS.com

 

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