Money can be a touchy subject, but as young professionals we’re often still trying to figure out what to do with it. The typical plan is to get a good job, establish a 401k and set a little money aside each month…but do you follow through?
We were curious and wanted to get an idea of what people our age have to say on savings and investing, so we took an informal survey at the two most recent Atlanta Under 40 events to get an idea of how people in our generation feel about budgets, working with a financial advisor and their thoughts on investing.
Below are five real scenarios of Atlantans under 40 who answered a few of our financial questions. Could any of these be you?
Kelly wants to tighten up her finances with a budget, and needs help figuring out where to begin. She also would like to see an assessment of how she spends her money.
Davonne has a financial advisor she’s happy with. If she were to compare her advisor to a celebrity, she’d call her Beyonce because she’s about business and on top of things! Davonne is savvy about investing, and feels good about where she is today.
Jay has money sitting in savings, and feels like it’s a waste, but isn’t sure what to do with it.
Steve has money in a life insurance policy that gets cash value. He would like to explore other options as well, though.
Arthur makes his own investments. If he chose to meet with an advisor, he would want to sit down and discuss how to tackle student loan debt. He wishes when he was 23 he had someone to tell him to set aside 20%!
You can probably relate to at least one of these individuals and their various scenarios, and understand the challenges that many of them may face. Below are four ways to overcome some of these challenges.
- Know that you’re not alone
Whether you’re a savvy investor ahead of the game, or you have savings that you aren’t sure what to do with, there are other young professionals just like you. The key is taking action to determine how to move forward. YourWela.com can actually provide you with the tools to assess your current financial situation, and offers you free professional advice when putting together a plan for your future.
- Find a financial advisor you vibe with
Financial advisors can help you with making decisions with your budget, your 401K and tell you exactly where in the stock market you need to be putting your savings. On top of all this, they will also watch your stocks and make trades for you to maximize your investment returns. You need to vibe with your advisor, though. There are advisors whose offices are on the top floor of a high-rise, and you’ll talk with them across a mahogany desk, and there are advisors who are happy to chat via texts or grab a coffee while talking finance. It’ll all a matter of finding the right fit for you. You should also consider finding a fee-only advisor rather than an advisor who is paid on trades or commissions. Fee-only advisors often give objective advice, and aren’t motivated by how often you trade stocks.
- Assess your financial situation.
It’s officially time to look at all your finances, and see exactly where your money is going. You can do this with a financial planner or on your own. Ultimately you should walk away from this exercise feeling more knowledgeable about taking the next steps that are appropriate for your specific financial situation. If you don’t have an advisor, you can use an app or website with a helpful savings and investing tools like YourWela.com. Wela is a free online financial advisory program that offers tools like the Stack Up tool which allows you to see how you stack up in your savings as compared to your peers. We are rolling out new tools on April 21st that will help you set your financial goals, and put you in contact with your online financial advisor.
- Stay disciplined and just do it
Once you assess your situation and start setting goals, you just have to remember to stick to it. If you haven’t started saving or investing, start now. If you don’t have any money saved yet, then just remember—that Starbucks coffee, Friday Happy Hour or new pair of shoes can wait. Just think, if you saved $5,000 per year at a 6% annual growth rate starting at age 23, you could have over $1 million saved up by the time you retire. That sounds a lot better than a Starbucks macchiato.
So here’s our challenge to you:
Within the next 30 days, schedule a meeting with an advisor or at least try the new Wela tools. Assess where you are. If you are already saving and investing, assess how you can keep your portfolios diversified as the market fluctuates. If you aren’t saving yet, discuss how to start with setting up an emergency fund, and then move into determining how you can start saving for retirement. Tell us how you’re doing! Tweet us, post on our Facebook wall or email us at email@example.com; we’d love to hear how things are coming along, and coach you along the way!
By: Wela Strategies