Defining your financial goals and objectives
Investment planning is a process that begins when you are clear on your financial goals and objectives. Our Financial Planning process is designed to help you get clear on how to match your financial resources to your financial objectives.
There are thousands of different investments. The most commonly used are cash, equities, bonds, annuities, and property. Each of these have different characteristics and a good investment plan may usually contain all of these.
When you work with an Investment Representative, are you working with a Financial Planner? Does your representative only discuss investments, or sell you annuities? We look at your Financial Plan first, followed by your Estate Plan, then we pull everything together with allocation of your Investment Portfolio.
Investment planning begins after you have taken into account your current and expected income level and have laid down your financial goals. The important aspects of investment planning are:
Capital growth versus regular income
Investors aiming at long-term goals focus on capital growth. A long-term investment seeks to allow you to tide over rough
times without changing your plans. Stocks, mutual funds and real estate represent investment options for capital growth. On the other hand, if you're investing to meet a short-term goal or to give you a
regular flow of funds to complement your present salary, you may wish to consider a strategy with income as the objective. These investments seek to generate a regular flow of income in the form of dividends (stocks) and interest and include
fixed-income investments, such as bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs).
Every investment option represents a unique risk-return trade-off. Typically, more risky investments offer higher returns in order to make it worthwhile for investors to take on the additional risk. Investment planning should take into account an investor’s risk appetite, which depends on your current income level, savings, lifestyle and responsibilities.
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Determine your investment profile
This can be done by considering your risk appetite. There are mainly four types of investment profiles:
- Conservative (Low Risk Tolerance)
Such portfolios comprise mainly (about 70%) of income assets, such as fixed interest and cash.
- Balanced (Average Risk Tolerance)
This refers to portfolios with an equal emphasis on growth and income assets (50/50)
- Growth (High Risk Tolerance)
Such portfolios comprise mainly (up to 80%) of growth investments, such as stocks.
- High Growth or Aggressive (Very High Risk Tolerance)
This refers to portfolios with more than 90% of the funds in growth investments.
Clarify your investment goals
Before you invest your money, it's important to identify and prioritize your financial goals, assess your risk tolerance and understand your investment options. A financial advisor can help you sort through your options and invest appropriately. Some questions to consider:
- What needs and dreams are you saving for? Retirement, a home, education?
- When will you need the money you plan to invest now?
- What is your risk tolerance? Are you willing to invest in stocks that may rise and fall in value in the short term, but have the potential to deliver larger returns in the long run? Or would you feel better if your money were invested more conservatively?
- Do you understand how different investment vehicles (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, real estate, etc.) work? And the potential tax impact of each?
Once you’ve identified your investment goals, you can begin to create an investment strategy that best fits your lifestyle.
Develop an investment strategy
When it comes to investment strategies, working with a financial advisor can ease the process by helping you to:
Assess your financial situation.
Create a clear picture of your current financial situation, including analyzing your investment timeframe and your risk tolerance.
Understand investing options.
Make decisions that are right for you by gaining knowledge on different investment types and accounts.
Invest in a variety of assets to distribute and help reduce risk.
Allocate your funds.
Spread your investments among different asset categories, including stocks, bonds, cash and real estate, a process known as asset allocation. This also helps dilute risk.
Monitor your progress.
Revisit and re-allocate your portfolio regularly to make sure your investments are still aligned with your current needs and future goals.
Consider tax implications.
Be aware of tax advantages as well as tax consequences so you can avoid paying unnecessary fees.
There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returs or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. The payment of dividends is not guaranteed.
Companies may reduce or eliminate the payment of dividends at any given time. Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
Products in Investment Planning
Individual Stock and Bond Portfolios
ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds)
Options (Covered Calls and Protective Puts)
Annuities (Fixed, Variable, Index)
Long-Term Care (hybrid LTC riders on Life Insurance and Annuity Contracts)
Employee Benefit Plans (401k’s, Defined Benefit Plans, Profit Sharing Plans, SIMPLE IRA’s, SEP IRA’s, Solo 401k’s)
Traditional and Roth IRA’s