Category: Smart Money Tips

What Can You Do About the Equifax Data Breach?

The recent Equifax Data Breach has compromised sensitive information for almost 150 million Americans. To see if you were affected, you can enter your information here. If you have been affected, it’s important to be proactive to protect your credit. Here are some steps I recommend.

For those who believe their data was compromised, the free credit monitoring that Equifax is providing could be a good start: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.  

Instead, I pay for the credit monitoring service from Zander Insurance Group to help protect my family:  https://www.zanderins.com/idtheft2

Another option is to potentially pay and get a freeze put on your credit for one year. You  can visit the following two websites of the other two credit reporting bureaus as well to sign up:

1) TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze

2) Experian: http://www.experian.com/news/data-breach-five-things-to-do-after-your-information-has-been-stolen.html

Also, here’s a free website I use to personally monitor and improve my credit score: https://www.creditkarma.com/auth/logon/  On this site, you can set up proactive alerts to warn you if there’s a big change on one of your credit reports by selecting ‘Profile & Settings’, then ‘Communications & Marketing’, and checking the ongoing alerts you would like to receive.

If you don’t wish to use CreditKarma.com or a similar site, you can also visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action and obtain your credit reports for free from each of the credit reporting bureaus.

THE DAY MY IDENTITY WAS STOLEN

It was a seemingly ordinary day when it happened. My phone rang and, when I answered, I heard the voice of an unknown man.

“Hello, is this Mr. Richard Archer? This is John from Neiman Marcus in Atlanta. We’re just calling to confirm that you were just in our mall location and applied for a new store credit card.”

These three sentences commenced my unfortunate identity theft journey. In the next few days, I came to learn that a man had my Social Security number and full name and had created a fake driver’s license with my correct home address alongside his picture. He walked around the Atlanta mall impersonating me, moving from store to store trying to open credit accounts. So far, he had succeeded at Neiman Marcus, Best Buy, Toys ‘R’ Us, and several times at Verizon. Before we were alerted, he’d run up more than $1,000 in cell phone charges.

HOW DID IDENTITY THEFT HAPPEN TO ME?

Some people might wonder how I, a financial planner, could become the victim of identity theft. I’ve helped multiple clients get through identity theft, and I know what a mess it can be. Hoping to avoid it happening to me, I shred account statements religiously, watch my credit score online, consistently update my passwords, use a locked mailbox, and never click on suspicious links online. So what went wrong?

I thought long and hard about it and then I remembered notices from my alma mater and TJ Maxx. Both had suffered huge data breaches in the past two years, and they had each notified me that my personal information might have been compromised.

Here’s the truth: identity theft can happen to anyone — even to a financial planner and even to people who proactively safeguard their personal information. If you’ve ever had a bank account, credit card, shopped online, or included your Social Security number on an application, your identity could potentially be stolen.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IDENTITY THEFT

It was in the evening when I received that call from Neiman Marcus, and it was hard not to panic at the thought of everything I was going to have to do to get this fixed. I knew I needed to cancel my credit cards, change my account passwords, and notify my bank and credit agencies. I had read stories about others who had their identities stolen and it had taken them, on average, a year and 200+ hours to get to a point where they could use their rebuilt credit again.

But then I remembered I had purchased ID Theft Concierge Protection from Zander ID Theft Solutions. I found their hotline number and called them, crossing my fingers that their office wouldn’t be closed at this time of night. My anxiety was high as I pictured a crook walking around Atlanta ruining the good credit I had worked so hard to build.

Luckily, a professional from Zander was available and immediately helped by placing a freeze on my credit and requesting me to send in everything I could to help him fix this problem. Over the next four weeks, I scanned and sent copies of all related correspondence I received regarding my many new credit accounts while the folks at Zander personally contacted and cancelled each new fake credit request. They had to contact several companies multiple times because the companies really wanted to get paid the thousands of dollars they were owed. 

Three months later, Zander had my entire credit report back to normal, and within four months my credit score was restored. 

LESSONS LEARNED

Experiencing this process firsthand, I learned the value of having expert help. It was such a relief not having to figure out all of the ins and outs of rebuilding my credit by myself. The professionals at Zander were faster, more persistent, and more successful than I could have been while also trying to run a business and spend time with my family.

Based on the amount of information my identity thief knows about me, I am positive it will happen again in the future. However, I have alerts set now that tell me when anyone requests new credit and a special verbal password to use with the credit agencies and my banks. I continue to do everything I can to protect my data myself, but a lot of it is out of my hands since I’ll frequently have to share my Social Security number, date of birth, name, address, driver’s license number, or other information. Furthermore, data breaches are becoming more common, so it’s just a matter of time before it happens again.

However, I feel more confident and at ease knowing someone else is also looking out for me. These are the feelings I hope to provide my clients. By serving as a family’s financial professional, I am there to provide a second set of experienced eyes on their strategies, offer guidance, and take some of their responsibilities off their plate so they can focus on their family.

Whether you have questions about protecting your identity in the wake of the Equifax Data Breach or seek advice about other elements of your finances, I’m here to help and am available to chat. You can easily book an appointment with me online here.

About Richard

Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com

What are the Most Common Problems Couples Face Concerning Money?

heart-money

It’s nearly impossible to ignore the statistics on love and money. An AICPA study shows that money is the most common reason married couples fight, with couples averaging three arguments per month about financial issues. Furthermore, arguments about money are the most common predictors of a future divorce.

What makes money and love so difficult to peacefully coexist? Let’s look at three common money issues couples face.

1. DIFFERING SPENDING PERSONALITIES

Even among a happily married couple, differing financial philosophies can clash and cause tension. It’s natural that some people are spenders and others are savers, but it’s important for a couple to be on the same page regarding their finances. Establish and agree upon a few basic guidelines and structure for how you will spend and save money. For example, how much can be spent per month on non-essentials?

2. DISPROPORTIONATE DEBT BETWEEN SPOUSES

When a couple marries, there’s a chance one spouse has more debt than the other, whether it’s school loans or credit card debt. Even if you both consider your assets and debts to be shared and split 50/50, arguments tend to ignite when there’s a disproportion of debt between a couple. To reduce stress and potential disputes, work together to find ways to tackle your debt before making other financial moves, such as investing or buying a first or second home.

3. A LACK OF UNIFIED FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

In many relationships, one spouse often takes on the role of their family’s CFO, paying bills, monitoring expenses, and making financial decisions. But as a result, the other spouse is left out and isn’t aware of what financial goals they’re pursuing or what their finances look like. While some people prefer to manage their family’s money, it’s still important for both partners to work as a team and make financial decisions together.

Although the topic of money can occasionally cause concern among couples, money doesn’t have to become a source of strife in a relationship. Invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, and communicate effectively.

As an independent financial advisor, I enjoy working closely with couples and helping them identify and pursue their lifelong objectives. If you have questions about your financial situation or have yet to get started with financial planning, I’d be happy to help. To learn more, call 800-840-5946 or visit www.archerim.com.

About Richard

Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com

5 Best Practices for an Organized Financial Life

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Imagine laying out all of your bills, account statements, insurance policies, and loans and trying to make sense of them all. Pretty overwhelming, isn’t it? That’s why organization is so foundational. You cannot succeed in your financial life without being organized. Here are 5 steps to get your finances in order.

1. SIMPLIFY

Look at the big picture of your finances. Are they complicated? Do you have too many credit cards, accounts that go unused, or 401(k)s from past employers? Make a list of all your accounts and prune them back. The fewer you have to manage, the easier it is. Even better, keep all your financial dealings in one place in our online client portal where you can access your investment accounts, see the current value of each of your assets, and review your debts.

2. SAVE A TREE

Clutter is one of the enemies of organization. Unless you’ve created a streamlined system, paper documents often pile up and can be difficult to track down when you need them. Instead, go paperless by enrolling in electronic delivery wherever possible. Then, all you’ll need to stay on top of things is a list of your usernames and passwords.

3. ORGANIZE YOUR PASSWORDS

Speaking of, find a method of keeping all of your login information in one place.

Find a password manager that will keep your information safe and help you generate many different and complex passwords.  Also, regularly update your passwords so your account details are protected from hackers and identity theft.  

4. KNOW WHERE TO LOOK

Despite how digital our lives are becoming, there are still times we need physical documents. Find a system that works for you, whether it’s a binder, a locked filing cabinet, or an in-home, fireproof safe. Gather everything together neatly and store it in one place that is easy for you to access.  Buying a crosscut shredder to dispose of older documents is also a must.

5. CREATE A MASTER LIST

Develop a master directory that lays out all your financial information to help you manage your affairs and serve as a guide to your family members if they ever need to assist with your finances. Be sure to include account numbers and logins, and keep this document password-protected or under lock and key.

It’s impossible to make wise financial decisions if you don’t know what you have to work with. If you’re ready to organize your finances or aren’t sure how strong your foundation is, we encourage you to schedule a phone call with us today.

About Richard

Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com.

VIDEO: How Much Income Do You Need in Retirement

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I’m Richard Archer, founder and President of Archer Investment Management. While it’s tempting to tell you all about me, the truth is that I’m all about you—your financial goals, dreams, concerns and success. That’s what I’ve built my company on, and that’s why I’m so proud of it.

Want to Buy Happiness? Spend Your Money Wisely

pay-here

Can money buy happiness? You may think the answer is no, but maybe it’s not about the balance in your accounts and more about how you choose to spend your money. In their book “Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending“, Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton delve into the research linking money and happiness.  Here are five ways they found money can “buy” happiness:

1. FOCUS ON “DOING,” NOT “HAVING”

The joy of having “things” fades quickly, whereas experiences have a lasting effect. If you’re going to spend money, choosing to go on a vacation or attend an event can lead to far more happiness than purchasing that new big-screen TV.

2. KEEP THINGS FRESH

If something is always available, it often loses its luster. If you buy a pastry every time you get coffee, it stops being a treat and becomes a dull routine. But if you only treat yourself once a week, you will have something to look forward to and will appreciate it more.

3. BUILD ANTICIPATION

Have you ever planned a trip months in advance, creating itineraries and researching restaurants? If so, you know that one of the best things about taking a vacation can be the waiting period, the build-up to the day you get on the plane or pack up the car. The anticipation of what’s to come intensifies the emotional experience.

4.  BUY TIME

Many people sacrifice valuable time to save a bit of money. But time may be more valuable. Try paying for a housekeeper, having your groceries delivered, or splurging on a direct flight instead of a cheaper indirect one. One way to save time that I’m particularly fond of (warning, shameless plug ahead) is to invest in a financial advisor to simplify your financial life. In all seriousness, by streamlining your finances, you can free up time and mental energy so you can focus on what’s important to you.

5. GIVE FREELY

We often think that spending money on ourselves will bring happiness. But in reality, one of the best ways to create fulfillment is to spend our money on others. Have you ever bought the perfect gift for someone and experienced joy at how much they appreciated it? It’s a win-win.

Having more money doesn’t guarantee happiness, but being intentional with your money can bring you fulfillment. I’d love to help you simplify your finances so you can find even more happiness in life! Click here to schedule a phone call.

About Richard

Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com.

Is It Better to Rent or Own in Retirement?

elderly-couple-looking-at-papers

You’ve probably had it drilled into you since you were young that owning a home means that you are on the road to success. For generations, buying a home was considered the cornerstone of the American dream, but is that still the case? Is buying really better than renting?

You may be surprised by this, but the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies tells us that the majority of renters are 40 or older and that there has been an increase in the number of renters in their 50s and 60s.

When it comes to retirement, here are some questions to ask yourself when making the decision to rent or own your home:

1. IS YOUR HOME PROVIDING A RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT?

A common cliché is that your home is an investment. But despite the benefits of homeownership versus renting, owning a home can be a considerable drain on your resources. It’s true that you can gain from owning a home. If you bought when the housing market was low, you may have amassed a large amount of equity. But that equity only serves you well if you are planning to sell. Unless you downsize or move to a cheaper area, anything else you buy will be a similar price; therefore, the equity you gain will just be going towards your new home.

But what if you feel like you are throwing away money on rent? While rent payments only go into the hands of a landlord and don’t increase your net worth, there are additional hidden costs that come along with homeownership that you might be forgetting. If you own your home, you need to budget for property taxes, maintenance, and insurance. Not to mention the time and effort required in keeping up a home.

If you are in it to invest, let’s consider an example. Say your mortgage interest rate is 5%. If you estimate that, based on your risk tolerance and time horizon, you can expect an investment return of 4%, it would make more sense to pay down your mortgage. Otherwise, you’re potentially throwing away 1%. However, if you are an aggressive investor and believe you could earn 8% on your investment, it would make more sense to invest. Or, think of it this way: if your ownership costs total $2,000 a month and you could rent your ideal property for $1,800 a month, you have $200 to invest. Use a calculator to compare the potential investment growth with how much equity you could gain.

2. IS THE TAX BENEFIT WORTH IT?

If you enjoy benefitting from the tax deduction that home ownership offers, renting won’t look enticing. But remember that in order to receive the deduction, you must itemize your taxes. Depending on the value of your home, the standard deduction might be more than the interest rate deduction. Also, as you pay off your mortgage, the amount you dedicate to interest decreases each year, meaning you will receive a small deduction. And if you have already paid off your home, you can only deduct your property taxes.

3. WHAT CAN YOU HANDLE?

As you age, you might realize that you can’t handle the upkeep of your home. Even if you previously enjoyed puttering around with tools and landscaping the yard, your health might prevent you from continuing these activities. Take a look at your lifestyle and make an informed decision. If you would gain peace of mind with someone else maintaining your residence, you might want to rent.

You may be drawn to the amenities that come with renting and want to be part of a community with others who are in the same phase of life you are. Even if you enjoyed living in the suburbs or country as an empty-nester, you may be drawn to a more urban setting with more transportation options. Retirement is a completely new season of life, so you need to evaluate how you want it to look instead of relying on old ways of thinking.

4. ARE YOU PLANNING TO LEAVE YOUR HOME TO YOUR HEIRS?

If part of your estate plan is to have your children inherit your home, it makes the most sense to stay put as a homeowner. According to a Trulia study, it’s only worth it to be a homeowner if you are going this route. Otherwise, it’s always cheaper to rent than own in retirement. One of the most important benefits of owning a home is building equity. If your children sell the home when you pass, the equity becomes their inheritance. But again, you need to weigh the pros and cons of the potential growth of that equity. If you sell now when the market is up and rent for considerably less, you could invest the equity you gain from the sale and use that money as an inheritance.

Do need more convincing that homeownership may not be the best financial decision for your golden years? Take the time to watch this video to get a thorough picture of why homeownership might not be your wisest choice.

Whether you rent or own in retirement is a personal decision you must make based on your unique set of circumstances and values. Do you own your home outright? How much equity do you currently have? Does your home require minimal upkeep? How are the advantages and disadvantages balancing out for you? Is it time to reevaluate your situation? I would be happy to help you think through your options and make a decision that will benefit you for years to come. Click here to schedule a phone call.

About Richard

Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com.

Richard Archer Receives the Five Star Wealth Manager Award

five-star-professional

The Five Star Wealth Manager Award honors professionals in the financial services industry who are committed to excellence, aiding consumers as they decide who can best help them meet their financial goals. Candidates are screened for client complaints, retention rates, status as a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), years as a RIA, and credentials such as Certified Financial Planner (CFA) and Chartered Financial Planner (CFP).

Archer is thankful to be recognized for his extensive post-graduate work, outstanding client relationships, and the decision to build his fee-only RIA business in the way he knew would most benefit his customers.

“After college, I studied for another seven years to obtain my CFA & CFP designations and my McCombs MBA. It was a lot of work, but I felt I needed to not only be able to deeply understand the investment universe and portfolio construction, but also be able to address wide-ranging financial planning issues such as insurance, estate planning, and taxes. Additionally, I wanted to be able to understand my clients who own their own businesses and to help them be even more successful. At the end of the day, the most important thing to me is to be useful and valuable to my clients. The more I know, the better I can help them achieve their dreams.”

The award is a great starting point for clients when looking for financial advice, but Archer suggests that consumers screen to make sure fees charged are commensurate with the services provided and that a potential adviser is a good fit.

“No matter the awards or designations a financial advisor has received, a client should look for someone who truly listens to them and understands their needs.”

AWARD DETAILS

To receive the Five Star Wealth Manager award, a wealth manager must satisfy 10 eligibility and evaluation criteria.

  1. Credentialed as an investment adviser representative or a registered investment adviser.
  2. Actively employed as a registered investment adviser representative or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of five years.
  3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review.
  4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards.
  5. Accepting new clients
  6. One-year client retention rate.
  7. Five-year client retention rate.
  8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered.
  9. Number of client households served.
  10. Education and professional designations.

About Richard

Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com.

What I Learned from My Cycling Trip: Risk Tolerance During an Ascent

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You frequently hear the word “risk” thrown around when it comes to your portfolio, but have you truly grappled with the thought that you could lose everything? It’s easy to say that you are willing to take risks when things are good, when you’re cycling on a smooth, flat, paved road. On my recent cycling trip, I came face-to-face with risk and the fear that resulted.

THE REALITY OF RISK

Every cyclist is familiar with the moments on a long climb when they have to focus solely on the few feet of pavement in front of them, those times when they could lose their nerve if they dare to look over the cliff’s edge beside them. My most recent experience with this kind of test was when I was three hours into arguably the toughest climb in Europe: The Valley of the Tears. My fellow cyclists and I had already climbed about 40 kilometers when the very narrow, one-lane road pitched up menacingly into an unending series of 20%+ inclines separated by blind switchbacks.

I swallowed hard to push down the fear I had building up in my throat, summoned all of the remaining strength I had in my screaming quads, and attacked. In order to avoid tipping over backward in a slow motion, uncontrollable wheelie back down the unforgiving incline, I stretched out as far forward as I could, laying my stomach on my handlebars and forcing my front wheel to stay in contact with the ground. The further I rose, the worse the road surface became, challenging me even further. I dodged deep potholes every few feet, and loose gravel caused my back wheel to slip, stealing my precious pedal power. Then, I rose above the treetops along the left side of the road that had thankfully blocked my view of the 4,000-foot drop to my left.  

The road narrowed further, and I was unwillingly forced out toward the precipice by a solid mountain rock wall that curved low and in toward my head. I was left with precious little room to ride as I fought up the mangled road surface. At that very instant, I realized I had, unwittingly, pushed myself beyond my personal risk limit. Fear overwhelmed me and my shoulders, legs, and hands started shaking uncontrollably. I knew I had to get off this road and this mountain now.

ANTICIPATE YOUR LIMIT FOR RISK

I’ve never left a ride unfinished, and in my mind, quitting was not a choice. Climbers are the toughest cyclists, willing to endure hours of grueling pain and fatigue while never expecting to reach their limits. Risk is an accepted aspect of the sport, and you prepare every way you can to minimize it. You build strength over long hours on the bike trainer, quietly sneak out before sunrise on weekends to get your training rides in before the traffic begins, and avoid desserts for months prior to big climbs, trying to avoid carrying even one extra ounce up the hills.

I thought I was prepared for the Valley of the Tears. I had conquered the worst climbs Austin has to offer, finished a mountain stage of the Tour de France, had excellent equipment, was hydrated, and had held back some energy in reserve that day. I knew that this hill was going to do its best to defeat me and throw every challenge at me that it could. If you ask for help from our support van among this group of elite cyclists, you had better have a bone sticking through your skin. Not only is it just not done, but it’s mortifying for an athlete of this level to throw in the towel. On these rides, our goal is to see if we’re the among the best climbers in the world. But on that hill, my fear of death fought and overcame my shame of arriving at the top of the climb inside the van, my bicycle sticking out of the top rack like a big blue last place trophy for all to silently ridicule.

RISK AND YOUR PORTFOLIO

I unclipped from my pedals midway through that climb. I had no choice. I had dangerously lost my ability to focus only on the road ahead of me. I had failed to anticipate my limit for risk, and now I was in a jam: 4,000 feet in the thin air, squeezed on a rough, narrow path, unable to safely descend or ascend. As I reflect on my predicament, I cannot help but draw parallels to the risk that accompanies financial portfolios.

I spend hours every week working with my clients, trying to determine how much risk they are willing to take with their hard-earned money in exchange for potentially higher investment returns. It can be hard to figure out your risk tolerance when you haven’t seen your portfolio fall 35% or more like many investments did in 2008. It’s my job to guide you toward a portfolio you can hold fast to when the road gets rough above the treetops and real, permanent loss is staring you in the face. My only goal is to help you discover your risk limits before you’re overcome with fear and dangerously stranded like I was in the Valley of the Tears, when you are too terrified to hold on, and cannot afford to sell and lock in your losses at likely the worst possible time. I’d love to chat with you, talk through your goals, and help you reach your dreams while working within your personal risk level. Click here to schedule a phone call.

About Richard

Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com.

What Does Financial Peace Look Like?

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Have you ever imagined what it would feel or look like to be stress-free about money? It’s not uncommon for most people, wealthy or not, to worry about money. One study found that money was the leading cause of stress among Americans, and 64% of people consider money to be a somewhat or very significant source of stress. (1)

While there’s no guarantee that any amount of planning or investing can cure all of your worries, taking proactive control of your financial situation and future can significantly help you feel more confident. At Archer Investment Management, we like to tackle financial planning in five different areas, each of which is designed to improve your life in a unique way. Together, these strategies cohesively work together to help you pursue your goals and visualize what financial peace can look like for you and your family.

1. LIFE PLANNING

Before you can accomplish something, you need a goal. Otherwise, you’re essentially driving blind without a map for guidance. The foundation of a strong financial plan is clarity regarding what you want to accomplish now and in the future. In this area of financial planning, it’s important to consider:

  • When do I want to retire?
  • What do I want to achieve in 5, 10, and 20 years?
  • Do I plan on expanding my family or sending a child to college?
  • What does a comfortable lifestyle look like?

Addressing these questions can help you prioritize your objectives and define what steps to take.

2. INVESTMENT PLANNING

Investing can play a powerful role in your financial planning, but it’s overwhelming for most people. Investing doesn’t have to be scary if you have set intentions, needs, and a partner to guide your decisions.

Along with identifying your overall money goals, you’ll want to consider your investments and how they are working for or against you. This involves asking:

  • Is my money working as hard for me as it can be?
  • Am I paying fees that are too high?
  • Do I have too much risk in my portfolio?
  • Do I understand what I’m investing in?

The more you understand about your portfolio, investment opportunities, and goals, the more you can feel confident about how your money is working for you.

3. ESTATE PLANNING

Beyond your personal goals, you likely have dreams for your children, grandchildren, loved ones, or charitable organizations. Estate planning helps you have a stronger handle on where your money will go and how it will be used in the future. When considering your estate, you’ll want to ask:

  • Does my family know my intentions should I ever become incapacitated?
  • Have I named and updated my beneficiaries?
  • Is my estate subject to federal estate taxes?
  • Does my family know where our important household documents are stored?

Planning for your estate can help both you and your family feel more confident about the future and any decisions they may have to make in an emergency.

4. INSURANCE PLANNING

There’s no such thing as a life without risk, but you can actively work to reduce its negative impact. Too often, people push insurance off to the back burner without realizing how important of a role it can play in their life. As you consider these other elements of your finances, ask yourself the following:

  • Am I and my loved ones protected from an unexpected life event?
  • Would an illness permanently derail my retirement?
  • How would we budget if I or my spouse could no longer work?

As they say, expect the best and plan for the worst. Insurance may seem like betting against yourself, but just as you wouldn’t drive without auto insurance or go without health insurance, put a plan in place to safeguard your wealth.

5. TAX PLANNING

Last but not least, there are taxes, which play a role in everyone’s financial life. Many people don’t realize that there are legal ways to reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay, which means more money in your pocket and for your future retirement. Beyond your annual tax return and taking advantage of credits, consider the following questions:

  • Do I have an executive compensation plan?
  • Am I taking maximum advantage of my tax-deferred savings opportunities?
  • Are there other opportunities for me to save for retirement while reducing taxes?

Tax planning and retirement planning can work hand-in-hand, especially if you collaborate with both your CPA and financial advisor.

PURSUING YOUR IDEAL FINANCIAL FUTURE

Addressing all of these questions and creating a detailed plan to pursue your goals can help guide you toward greater financial confidence and peace. At Archer Investment Management, we help our clients build comprehensive financial plans and provide them a customized website that helps them monitor their progress. We believe this helps our clients stay engaged with their plan and understand how they can take small steps to work toward big goals.

If you’re interested in learning more about what your financial future can look like and how to start taking steps toward your goals, I encourage you to reach out to me. You can book an appointment online here so we can talk about your answers to these questions and what you’d like to accomplish.

About Richard

Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com.

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(1) http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/index.aspx

VIDEO: This Next Climb Will be My Toughest Ride Yet

bike

In a few short weeks, I will embark on one of my toughest cycling trips yet, Pico de las Nieves. The setting is the island of Gran Canaria, which lays just 100 km west of Morocco. The route rises from the tropical coast to above the clouds over the course of one long day. The gradient gets steeper (consistent double digit gradients) as the day goes on, making it a very difficult climb. I look forward to a challenging, beautiful, and rewarding ride. Watch this video to see the route!