Serving in the United States Armed Forces is a career choice that often requires years of sacrifice, dangerous assignments with sometimes not a lot left over when it comes time to retire.
As Desert Storm veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I have experienced many benefits associated with the military. However, I have also witnessed many mistakes veterans (and civilians) make with their pensions and retirement plans.
Risk comes in many shapes and sizes. It is important to understand each of them as well as possible so that you can avoid negative results and feelings. For example, selecting investments outside of the risk you can emotionally tolerate can lead to stress and poor investment decisions; not properly assessing the risk that a fixed asset presents could mean inadvertently hurting your savings’ potential for growth and can impact your access to the funds when you need them. Worst of all, not realizing the inherent risks in the investments you choose completely removes your ability to hedge against them.
Annuities can be some of the most polarizing products in the investment world. As retirement investments, some in the industry swear by them, while some say they are a complicated, overly expensive way to invest. Let’s take a look at five popular reasons why people hate these products, and also some reasons people love them.
Hard to Understand
The annuity would probably never top a list of the most easy-to-understand investment products. For starters, there are several different types of annuity products: fixed, indexed, and variable. There is a disparate set of guarantees and risks for each type, which must be fully understood in order to make an informed decision. The work isn’t done once the product type is selected, either; indexed annuity purchase payments must be allocated among a choice of several interest crediting strategies, and variable products have a menu of mutual fund-like subaccounts to choose from. Selecting an annuity and optimizing the endless options on your own can be a complex task.
Dave Ramsey is one of America’s most trusted voice on money and business matters. He is a personal money-management expert, radio personality, and author of numerous books. We are excited to be part of the SmartVestor program because Dave’s beliefs about financial education and retirement planning are rooted in the same beliefs as Trajan Wealth. By having the heart of a teacher, and not of a salesman, we dedicate the time needed to listen to your goals and educate you on your investment options.
There’s no doubt mutual funds remain one of the most popular investment choices. The better-known funds are fairly safe, have occasionally better returns and take a lot of the guesswork out of investing for the shareholder. In these ways, they are an alternative to the blue-chip stock for investors who want to either participate in an entire category or automatically diversify their portfolio without all the heavy lifting.
However, mutual funds are not the answer for every investor. There are some situations where having the extra bulk of a fund can work against an investor. Believe it or not, there are some financial advisors who prefer to downplay these potential disadvantages because they believe the offsetting benefits of a mutual fund can make up for the shortfall.
If you have always believed mutual funds are one of the only ways to invest, read on. There are some important things to consider before choosing a mutual fund.
Just because you have a Financial Advisor doesn’t mean you should stop learning about finances. Being an educated investor will help you choose the right Financial Advisor with confidence and help you articulate your financial needs. Although finding up to date, unbiased information on investing can seem like a daunting task, here are a few suggestions to stay informed.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Burton Malkiel If you talk to money experts, you are likely to get several recommendations for this authoritative investing book. Mr. Malkiel is an economist and investment manager offering comprehensive yet easy-to-read guides to investing. He details the need to comprehend life-cycle saving. The book provides an excellent introduction to the world of markets and investing as well as how the two work together.
Moving America Forward, a national television series celebrating the achievements and contributions of businesses and entrepreneurs across America recently interviewed Jeff Junior, President of Trajan Wealth about his long term success in helping people navigate the ever-changing economic landscape.
The show, hosted by William Shatner and Doug Llewelyn is dedicated to delivering quality educational programming honoring a variety of business owners that are moving our country forward.
Trajan Wealth was chosen as one of these businesses for their outstanding work in helping individuals and couples better understand and prepare for the challenges associated with retirement.
In this episode of Moving America Forward, Jeff Junior talks about common problems and concerns of pre-retirees and why working with an Advisor with a fiduciary standard is so important. He also shares his story of how a young Marine got started in the financial planning business and how Trajan Wealth can help people at any stage of life to secure their best financial future. In addition to retirement planning, Trajan Wealth also offers the following services:
No one can just flip a switch at age 65, quit his or her job and then start to relax on the veranda with an ice-cold lemonade every day. Before retirement, there are many different plans to make and strategies to put into place. While your individual concerns can vary depending on your situation, there are some common concerns faced by almost every pre-retirees.
Most pre- and post-retirees don’t plan to spend all their savings and liquidate all assets during their retirement. For the most part, retirees want to leave behind a legacy to their heirs. But as the economy constricts and it becomes harder to save money for retirement, the thought of leaving a legacy behind becomes a less practical desire.
The plans that a retiree can make in order to provide a legacy to his family after death will vary depending on many things. Some questions that pre- and post-retirees must ask themselves include:
Financial freedom is a concept a lot of people think about, yet it’s hard to define. For some, financial freedom may be the ability to pay bills without having to work. Others may consider it the ability to work at a job they love or being able to support a particular cause.
Let’s take a look at what financial freedom may mean for you as well as some ways to achieve this goal.
Know what you want to accomplish.
If you didn’t know where you wanted to go on vacation, you could spend your weekend or your week driving aimlessly on the highway before coming back home. While it was nice that you had an idea of what you wanted, a lack of planning held you back from realizing your dream trip.
The same concept is true for your money. It’s nice to think about making money or having enough money to last a lifetime but you need a plan to make it happen. Therefore, the first step in your journey to financial freedom is to write concrete goals and how you will achieve them.
Rodney Brooks, of the New York Times published a book called ‘Is one million dollars enough?’ reminding us that there isn’t one answer for every scenario. Brooks points out, “If you want your retirement to be the same lifestyle as your working life, you must save and plan.”
For those of you that have ever hired a personal trainer–you know what that experience is all about. The first day is the one that you will never forget because it was hard both physically and mentally. You probably found out that you weren’t as strong as you thought you were or maybe that you didn’t prepare well enough. But it made you stronger in the long run.
Working with a financial advisor, believe it or not, can be a similar experience. It is common for most people to have some level of emotional duress when thinking about money. The stress compounds when investors come seeking to break their bad investing habits or when they’re emotionally recovering from a bad experience with their former advisor or broker. A financial advisor should work with you to correct mistakes made by offering on-going advice, as painful as it may be.
There are benefits to getting ‘personal training’ regarding your investments. By helping you break down bad habits and recover from poor financial relationships, your financial plan can be a form of ‘financial therapy’. This sets you up for long-term prosperity that is more self-sustaining. In other words, you grow to be more empowered to manage your day-to-day finances. Providing more strategic advice is often of higher value in the long-term.
Perhaps the most significant difference between an actual physical personal training and a financial advice personal training is the fact that we must listen to you more than a personal trainer ever would. By us asking you the right questions and listening, you’re able to accurately reflect upon what went right or wrong in your previous financial relationships. This element of critical thinking is the personal training aspect that allows an investor to break down so they can be built back up with a financial plan.
The sting of financial pain can lead investors to a better place. The first step towards improving an investor’s well-being, however, is through asking questions and listening intently. This type of personal training sets the stage for financial empowerment and well-being for investors. Financial advisors experience divorce, death, business success (and failure), and personal growth from the front row seat of their clients’ lives, all by bringing each client through their own training.
Advisory services offered through Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., an SEC-registered investment adviser.
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