Investing For the Future: How do I begin?

Women often face financial challenges that are different than challenges presented to men. Women cycle in and out of the workforce more frequently—often because they take on caregiver responsibilities for children or aging parents, to the detriment of their own careers. They need to save more for retirement because they live longer. And, on average, they earn less than men. As a woman, planning for a sound financial future may seem overwhelming.

Do not be deterred. Jeanine Herold, CFP®, an investment adviser representative and managing member of Phillips Financial Management, advised, “Women sometimes think there’s something different about women and investing. That’s not really true. Women are just as savvy as men about money,” she said. “Don’t succumb to a thought that you can’t do it or that somehow it must be ‘different’ for women, and therefore more complex and difficult.”

Making investments can be an important and fun part of a larger financial plan.

Should I use a financial advisor?

Christopher P. Moore, CFP®, APMA®, a private wealth advisor with Moore & Associates, suggested, “It’s never too early to go to a professional. Of course, there is a cost for the advice—just like there is a cost in having a doctor analyze test results—but the mistakes you make on your own could cost you more in the long-term.” A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional sees the long-term view and sticks with a plan. Particularly for new investors, this discipline can be challenging.

“If you are avoiding making financial decisions, that’s an indication that you may need a financial planner to work with you,” said Herold. “What is your own level of comfort and how high are the stakes? When you first start work, it may seem pretty straightforward. If you are comfortable making sound decisions about saving and spending, don’t feel compelled to hire someone,” she said. “But don’t avoid hiring someone just because others say you should be able to do it on your own.”

Finding an advisor

Moore suggested using “the 3 Rs”:

• do Research (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority,
• go by Referral
• go by Recognition (from outside agencies that recognize professionals)

Both experts suggested looking for a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional (CFP®) with experience. Get referrals from a mentor or boss, parents or other relatives. Herold suggested asking for referrals from “people you admire for the way they appear to manage their money and their finances.”

Make a short list and interview potential advisors. Moore advised, “Educate yourself to the point that you know enough to ask good questions.” He stressed the importance of guided assistance. “(It’s important) getting the right people on your side of the table. It’s your money and the advisor should take the time to educate you,” he said.

Educate Yourself

The first step to financial security is to develop a financial road map. Whether this is done with a financial planner or on one’s own, the key is to feel secure in the plan and stick to it. Daily choices all can lead to long-term success.

Jeanine Herold, CFP®
Phillips Financial Management, LLC
(an SEC Registered Investment Adviser)
6920 Pointe Inverness Way, Suite 230
Fort Wayne, IN 46804

Christopher P. Moore, CFP®, APMA®
Moore & Associates
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Moore Financial Center
6226 Covington Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46804

Good Money Habits

Make a habit of thinking about how everyday decisions affect long-term financial goals. Herold’s advice:
• Start saving money as soon as you have a job—an early start will lead to long-term benefits.
• Save every month with every paycheck, even if it’s just a small amount in the beginning.
• Understand all of the benefits offered by your employer. This includes 401Ks, insurance and flexible spending accounts.
• Avoid debt as much as possible—especially on discretionary items like travel and furniture. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized financial advice.

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