We’ve compiled the most Frequently Asked Questions we hear about retirement planning. Some of the answers may surprise you!
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With a career, family obligations and a personal life, you have many demands on your time. Planning for your own financial security may end up on the back burner. Stoffer Wealth Advisors, a professional financial planning and investment advisory firm, can help you create the right “financial recipe” for your future.
What is financial planning? People don’t always know why or when they need it. Sure, retirement is most often the impetus to call a financial planner. Learning how to save and invest for the future are good reasons to seek help too. But what if you were thinking about changing careers, living in Europe for a year, or selling one house to buy another? All of these decisions could benefit from financial analysis.
Ever stop to ask yourself why you own some of the investments you do? Do you monitor them periodically? What is your investment mix, i.e. the percentage of each major category of investment (cash, bonds, stocks, real estate, etc.) in your portfolio? Why does your investment mix matter? Can you just set it and forget it? To get to those answers we often need to start with a basic question; “What is my money for?”
Planning for retirement is the most common reason people call a financial planner. What people come to realize is that they still need a “paycheck” in retirement and are not sure where it is going to come from. In reality, we pay ourselves. And the funds can come from a number of sources; Social Security, distributions from retirement accounts, pensions (for those who still get such things) income from rental property, savings, etc.
Meet Jeff, Financial Planner and Investment Advisor
I’m Jeff Stoffer a financial planner and investment advisor serving the San Francisco Bay Area. I founded Stoffer Wealth Advisors during the Great Recession. It seemed at once almost crazy, and at the same time like a calling. People were experiencing great stress and loss and I felt strongly that I could help.
After graduating UC Berkeley with a degree in cultural anthropology I ‘chose’ cooking as my first career. As a chef, I knew that I would have to save and invest for my retirement. I aspired to cook at Chez Panisse and spent eight years there, even briefly taking the role as chef. While I loved it, I found myself drawn to wanting to know more about investing.
I went back to school, earned an MBA in finance and worked at a couple of large investment firms in San Francisco. I longed for something more personal and began to help individuals with investments and financial planning.
Despite coming to my profession from an unusual route, it is all coming together in a unique way. I now use all my experiences to help people invest wisely and plan for a secure and abundant future.
My “recipe” for financial success is based on making conscious choices with money, being clear on our values and making sure our money goes toward what matters most. Just as with cooking, you know that if you follow certain steps the results will be better for having done so.
Investing in a way that supports your future demands attention and expertise. It is important to have a clear vision of what you want your future to look like. What is important to you? How do you go about creating the future you want?
Financial planning is a process to help you do just that, create a recipe for the future. Having a plan in place is as important as having someone with experience and who knows you…your situation, your family and your goals to help you carry it out.
Investing in a relationship with your financial adviser increases not only your confidence, but actually your odds of successfully achieving the future you want.
Recently when the subject of financial planning came up, a woman said to me, “I really should do that.” I was staring at my computer one afternoon, thinking about the pervasive effect of the phrase “I should . . .” on our daily lives. It almost doesn’t matter what follows those words, “I should . . .” – lose weight, do my taxes, get the car fixed – whatever it is, the phrase which masquerades as motivation so often has the opposite effect – of inducing procrastination. It can make us feel as though someone else is trying to impose his or her will on us.
Now that traditional pension plans are becoming a thing of the past, 401k’s are the most common way people save for retirement. Yet unlike the pension where there is little choice or attention required, the 401k requires our attention and care. There are a couple of good reasons to contribute to these plans. First, the money comes out of your paycheck and is generally not taxed. You are allowed to save money and pay less income tax now. Second, the money grows tax deferred (meaning you pay no tax on growth or earnings of the account) until the money is withdrawn years in the future. What you need to know:
I love lists like this; they almost always include at least one idea worth pursuing. I hope the same will be true for you here. In offering these top ten tips my wish is to help you start the New Year making conscious choices about money and spending in ways that support your values. Money and quality of life are integral to our sense of well-being and our outlook for the future. By aligning your values, goals and actions you take steps today to create a more meaningful life and future, regardless of your financial resources.