In this day and age saving money can seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to investing your hard-earned dollars!
It is financially lucrative to start saving and investing as early as possible. However, starting late in the game is better than missing it completely. Saving and investing can become a good habit formed in any stage of life. Talking about your options with a qualified financial planner can help streamline your savings into sound investments. If you are local to Northern Virginia, John Clawson is an experienced financial advisor in Winchester. He is committed to helping people go from barely saving to investing and pursuing their long-term financial goals.
Here are 4 steps to help get you started from saving to financial investing:
- First, find out why to invest? How does investing vs. just saving cold hard cash help me pursue my goals?
- Second, determine your short and long-term goals.
- Thirdly, evaluate how much you are realistically able to invest.
- Finally, educate yourself on all your investment options. The guidance of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help you determine a suitable investment route for your savings and life goals.
1. Why invest
We have all heard that saving money is important. Well, what can you do with those savings besides seeing it just sit in your bank account? Invest it! Whether you are already in the habit of regularly saving, or have recently acquired an extra sum of money, you can now put those savings to work for you.
People are living longer and outliving your retirement savings is a real possibility. Add in the uncertainty of later in life health issues, coupled with an unknown economic future, and your savings has the potential to deplete quickly. Another popular reason to invest is to increase the quality and enjoyment of your retirement (where you plan to live, hobbies, traveling).
2. Determine your short and long-term goals
Determining your short term and long-term goals can help you figure a realistic amount of savings you want to invest.
Depending on your stage in life, short term goals could be funds for traveling, hobbies, being able to make that dream purchase for your home. Or you may want to be able to help out financially in your community, church or charity. Some common long-term goals are the purchase of a home, planning for a family, starting a business, a college fund for your children, and retirement. Planning out your goals can ultimately guide what kind of investments are right for you.
3. Evaluate how much you are able to invest
There are a few things you will want to consider when deciding how much you want to invest, while still maintaining a level of comfort with your everyday expenses. One potentially easy way to do this is looking into your retirement plan options through your employer. Your employer might match a certain percentage of what you put into your 401(k). This way it is set aside before you even have a chance to spend it.
Another important thing to ask yourself is, do you have an emergency fund? A good rule of thumb is to have enough money in your savings to keep you afloat for at least 3 months in case you were to lose your primary source of income. An unanticipated car repair or ER visit is another great reason to have an available emergency fund.
Finally, calculate your obligations on your credit card, car payments, or student debt. Ideally, your plan should be a balance of paying off any debt and committing money towards your investments.
4. Educate yourself on investment options with the help of a financial consultant
Investing money over time can have a positive snowball effect. By just keeping your savings sitting in the bank your money is not reaching its full potential and is subject to rising inflation. Investing can have a compounding effect over the years— meaning when you earn interest on your investments, you can earn interest on your interest.
There is no one-size-fits-all investment strategy. Your optimal financial investment path ultimately comes down to the goals you want to achieve and what risks you are willing to take. That is where an experienced financial consultant like John Clawson of Winchester, VA can help navigate you towards an investment plan for pursuing your goals.
The Savings and Investment Infographic by Nationwide is a good visual guide when considering your options beyond the basics.
*Shenandoah Valley Financial Services is located in the city of Winchester in Frederick County, VA. We serve as financial advisors to clients in the Mid-Atlantic Region primarily in the states of VA, MD, DC, FL, NC, SC, PA, and WV.
This is meant for educational purposes only. It should not be considered investment advice, nor does it constitute a recommendation to take a particular course of action. Please consult with a financial professional regarding your personal situation prior to making any financial related decisions. Investing involves risk, including the potential for loss of principal.