Your Financial Plan
The key is to a successful plan may be to work with a licensed financial advisor. Our CFS* Financial Advisors will help you:
- Analyze your assets, liabilities, cash flow, and budget
- Review your short and long term financial goals
- Assess your retirement income goals
- Determine your investment risk tolerance and time horizons
What is right for one individual may not be right for another. That’s why it’s important to lay out an investment strategy that works with your personal financial goals.
After careful study, your CFS Financial Advisor will produce and review with you a detailed, customized report with recommended strategies for asset allocation, diversification, and insurance coverage. It will be your personal plan to help you reach your financial goals.
Saving Versus Investing
Both saving and investing have a place in your finances. However, don't confuse the two. Saving is the process of setting aside money to be used for a financial goal, whether that is done as part of a workplace retirement savings plan, an individual retirement account, a bank savings account, or some other savings vehicle. Investing is the process of deciding what you do with those savings. Some investments are designed to help protect your principal — the initial amount you've set aside — but you may provide relatively little or no return. Other investments can go up or down in value and may not pay interest or dividends. Stocks, bonds, cash alternatives, precious metals, and real estate all represent investments; mutual funds are a way to purchase such investments and also are themselves an investment.
Note: Before investing in a mutual fund, carefully consider its investment objectives, risks, charges, and fees, which can be found in the prospectus available from the fund. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.
You invest for the future, and the future is expensive. For example, because people are living longer, retirement costs are often higher than most people expect. Though all investing involves the possibility of loss, including the loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful, investing is one way to try to prepare for that future.
You have to take responsibility for your own finances, even if you need expert help to do so. Government programs such as Social Security will probably play a less significant role for you than they did for previous generations. Corporations are switching from guaranteed pensions to plans that require you to make contributions and choose investments. The better you manage your dollars, the more likely it is that you'll have the money to make the future what you want it to be.
Because everyone has different goals and expectations, everyone has different reasons for investing. Understanding how to match those reasons with your investments is simply one aspect of managing your money to provide a comfortable life and financial security for you and your family.
What is the Best Way to Invest?
- Get in the habit of saving. Set aside a portion of your income regularly. Automate that process if possible by having money automatically put into your investment account before you have the chance to spend it.
- Invest so that your money at least keeps up with inflation over time.
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Though asset allocation and diversification don't guarantee a profit or ensure against the possibility of loss, having multiple types of investments may help reduce the impact of a loss on any single investment.
- Focus on long-term potential rather than short-term price fluctuations.
- Ask questions and become educated before making any investment.
- Invest with your head, not with your stomach or heart. Avoid the urge to invest based on how you feel about investments.
Socially Responsible Investing
Don't just invest for a return. Invest for a better world, too.
For many people, sensible investing means choosing companies that not only are likely to perform well, but also act in a responsible manner. In addition to helping the environment and the community, investing in socially responsible companies can also make good business sense. But identifying good socially responsible investment opportunities takes extra work on the part of the investor. Our CFS Financial Advisors will help you wade through the complexities of identifying socially responsible investment opportunities and help you build a plan that meets your social and financial objectives.
Social responsibility can be defined in many ways. Usually, a socially responsible company has a positive track record in one or more of the following categories:
• Product safety and impact
• International operations and human rights
• Community relations
• Indigenous people's rights
In addition, they all have the common characteristic of good corporate governance, which includes ethical business practices and company policies. They align the interest of management, customers, stockholders, and society so that every stakeholder can benefit from their performance in the marketplace. They often have good employee relations, a diverse and independent board, and a reasonable and rational executive compensation plan. Good corporate governance sets the culture for being socially responsible.
If you want to find out more about how socially responsible investing can play a role in your financial plan, make an appointment today and we will help you select the fund that fits not only your values but also your investment strategy.