If you’re a Millennial, the road to retirement probably seems a long way off. After all, you have years of your career ahead of you, lots of time to save, and, let’s face it, paying off your student loans and seeing the world are probably much higher priorities at the moment. But what if I told you that now is actually the best time to start laying a foundation for tomorrow? Would you believe me enough to take action today?
Not convinced? Imagine this:
You and a friend have a month off (lucky you!) and you’ve decided to take a cross-country trip together. Your plan is to start by checking out the monuments in Washington, D.C., and then embark on the long drive to the beach in Los Angeles. You’ve always wanted to see the Grand Canyon. Your friend is obsessed with New Orleans. You have one reliable vehicle, one month to get from D.C. to L.A., and your budget is, let’s say, not particularly stellar.
Here’s my question for you: Would you rather travel with a foldout paper map and an old compass—or the Waze app and always-reliable Wi-Fi?
Even if you love the novelty of an old compass (who doesn’t want to feel like Indiana Jones now and then?), if you really want to see the sights, enjoy every minute of your trip, and dip your toes in the Pacific with some change in your pocket, Waze is probably a much smarter option. Why? Because Waze gives you two things no compass can provide: insight and efficiency. If there’s a highway closure, Waze knows. The app immediately alerts you to the issue and provides the most efficient route. Not only will you save yourself a ton of frustration, but you also won’t have to waste time, gas, or money trying to guesstimate your next step.
It makes total sense, right? Here’s the thing: the same logic applies when it comes to planning your financial future. Like a cross-country road trip, the road from today to retirement is long and unpredictable, with the potential for a thousand (or more!) unexpected surprises along the way. Some of those surprises might require major re-routing. Others might only need a small tweak to get you back on track. But one thing is certain: along that road to financial success, what sets apart the winners from their less-than-flush peers isn’t how much money they earn in their lifetime, but how well—and how early—they begin building their financial foundation.
But even if you’re on board to start today, there’s one common barrier to success that can thwart the efforts of even the most financially passionate Millennial. That obstacle is that most financial advisors charge more than you can probably afford—yet. Even worse, many advisors won’t take you on unless you have $500K+ in investable assets. That makes their expertise about as helpful as pressing that old compass in your palm and saying, “Good luck with that! If you make it to L.A., call us!”
At Market Street Wealth Management Advisors, that’s just not how we operate. Personally, I grew up in a small town, and one reason I chose to be a financial advisor in the first place was to help people like my neighbors. Were they wealthy? Generally no. But they were hard-working people who could have done much better financially if they’d had the right guidance early on.
That’s exactly why we created the Foundations program. Foundations is a lower cost program that gives young professionals the financial guidance you need today to make better, smarter financial decisions. How? By giving you access to a professional advisor who will take the time to listen to your questions and to give you personal advice based on your situation and your needs and goals. Here are just a few ways the Foundation program can help:
1. Saving vs. paying down debt.
Eli and Sarah are both in their mid-20s and they are neck-deep in planning their wedding in October. Luckily, they both understand that planning their financial life as a couple is an important piece of the marriage puzzle. When we first met, they had 15+ individual student loans with various interest rates, a new mortgage, and Sarah was starting a new job where she would be eligible to save into a 401(k). Through the Foundations program, we helped by organizing their financial info and then coming up with a game plan on how to use their extra monthly cash flow to wisely pay down debt and start saving for their ‘happily ever after.’
2. Tackling the basics.
Josh is in his mid 30s and is a single dad. With a jumble of accounts all over the place, a high-interest mortgage (9%!), and no budget to speak of, he decided it was time to start taking his finances seriously. We were able to help ease the stress by helping him get a handle on his cash flow, simplify his financial life, and (this was huge!) refinance his mortgage down to 4.2% to significantly reduce his monthly payments.
3. Knowing where to invest.
Emma is in her early 30s. She’s single, and she’s done a great job at managing her money to date. Her student loans were paid off a year ago, she has no debt of any kind, and she is just beginning to accumulate some assets. The missing piece of the puzzle? Investing. She knew enough to know she wanted professional guidance on where to invest, but she didn’t meet the minimums at other advisors. Through the Foundations program, we were able to work with her to review her employee benefits at her new job to make the most suitable options for her, reinvest her 401(k) from her prior position and, most importantly, give her access to low-cost investment options that fit her needs today.
4. Life & disability insurance.
Eric and Traci have big dreams. Both physicians in their early 30s, they are very focused on paying down their large student loan debt. Their only other major expense is their mortgage, and their income potential is impressive. As we began to build their financial plan together, one major piece of the puzzle that surprised them was disability and life insurance, both of which are vital to covering their debts and protecting their dreams. We talked to them about the importance of these important financial tools and helped them find solutions that fit their needs.
What I love most about working with Foundations clients is the opportunity to see the difference it can make in their lives by helping guide them to make smarter financial decisions from the start. Much like the Waze app can help you get from point A to point B faster and more efficiently, Foundations can help you get where you want to go in the future.
My message for every Millennial out there is this: Don’t wait. Take action now and get started on your path to a great financial future!
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