You wouldn’t start a long road trip without consulting a map would you? Well, the same holds true for creating a strategy for managing your investments. Developing this strategy is a process, an organized and disciplined approach to making the right choices to ensure that you and your loved ones will be financially secure and that you will have peace of mind knowing you have crafted a well thought-out plan. Carolina First Securities has the people, resources, and know-how to help guide you through this process.
DO YOU NEED A STRATEGY?
The simple answer is “Yes.” Some of the more common responses for not having a plan that we hear that really don’t hold up are:
- “I’m not old enough.” There is no magic age to begin developing a systematic approach to the management of your investments. In fact, the sooner you begin, the greater the opportunity you will have to grow it into a substantial asset base.
- “I’m not wealthy enough.” Planning needs are not measured on a scale of wealth. Of course, the more you have, the more sophisticated the planning needs. But people at all levels of wealth need a plan for maximizing assets.
THE BROAD OUTLINES OF THE MAP
Creating an investment strategy starts with an assessment of your resources and long-term goals. You and your advisor can then choose investments consistent with what you have learned from your evaluation. Here are some of the key areas to explore with your financial advisor:
- Investment choices - How should your investments be allocated among the various classes of stocks and bonds? How much risk are you willing to accept? How should your portfolio be managed on an ongoing basis?
- Income tax considerations - Have all avenues of tax savings been explored? Are investments being managed in a tax-conscious manner?
- Cash needs - How much money will you need for emergencies? A sufficient cash reserve will help avoid the need to sell investments at an inopportune time.
- Your time horizon - How much time do you have to reach your goals? A sound investment strategy will provide for volatility in the stock market based upon when you need to reach those goals.
- Contingency planning - What happens if illness or injury leaves you unable to manage your investments? What strategies will you need to have in place?
Two of the more common long-term goals are paying for college and building a retirement reserve.
- College - How much will you need to have to educate your children? Starting a regular program of investing - as early as possible - gives you the best chance of meeting these needs without having to borrow. Today, there are more options for college funding than ever before. From Coverdell Education Savings Accounts to Section 529 plan, there are numerous funding options to discuss with your financial advisor.
- Retirement - How much after-tax income will you need during your leisure years? What will be the source of that income? How much capital will be required to fund a secure retirement for you and your spouse? Determining the answers will put you on the path to setting in place the retirement investment strategy that you will need.
WHEN SHOULD YOU REVIEW YOUR INVESTMENT STRATEGY?
Over time, changes in your family and your circum-stances can modify your goals. And, as you travel on through life and your assets grow, your attitude about the risk that you are willing to take may change. Some of the key events that can affect your plan and may signal the need to re-evaluate your strategy include:
- Children or grandchildren are born or adopted.
- Family members passing on.
- Marriage or divorce.
- Significant career or business changes occur.
- A large sum is received (e.g., inheritance, court settlement)
- Tax law changes.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
Carolina First Securities has the resources to do a complete analysis (or re-analysis) of your holdings as well as your current and future goals. Call on us. We look forward to helping you travel down the road to long-term financial security.
To locate a Carolina First Securities representative or for more information on investing, please call us at 800.476.6400.
Securities: Are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, May Lose Value, Not Bank Deposits, Not Guaranteed by Any Government Agency.
Securities are offered by, and Financial Consultants are registered with, UVEST Financial Services, member FINRA/SIPC. UVEST and Carolina First Securities are independent entities.
UVEST Financial Consultants do not offer tax advice. For tax assistance, please refer to your accountant or professional.
© 2006 M.A. Co All rights reserved. Any developments occurring after January 31, 2006, are not reflected in this article