Wise Investments: Advice from our Career Momma

A Penny Saved = A Penny Earned” – Not anymore, Ben Franklin!

David, Katie and Will

David, Katie and Will

The majority of Americans over-spend, under-save, over-borrow, and are under educated when it comes to managing their personal finances. To help our children, grandchildren, and future generations prevent similar mismanagement, we, as parents, need to begin the conversation with our children NOW.

The spending and saving habits our children acquire during their formative years will likely stay with them for the rest of their lives. As parents, it is important to invest time and energy to ensure our kids learn to be skillful in their financial management before they reach adulthood.

Saving is the core of prudent financial management. In basic, easy-for-kids-to-understand terms, saving is the act of denying an expenditure today, so that you will have something to spend in the future. The major reason many people are poor savers is that we live in a culture of self-indulgence, not self denial and discipline. When we want something we want it now, and unfortunately, if this behavior is continued, it can have dire costs.

6 in 10 Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.

97% of Baby Boomers are not financially prepared for retirement

4 in 10 American families will spend 110% of their income this year

1 in 2 households did not save a single penny last year

11 in 20 households have $25,000 or less in savings, and 3 in 10 have less than $1,000

America is the wealthiest nation on earth, yet the majority of American families are failing to manage their own personal finances in the short term, as well as planning for retirement. The statistics are daunting and the consequences are so unpleasant that the discussion to take action is often avoided until it’s too late. The numbers speak for themselves.

So what can we do? Here are a few talking points for helping your children learn about saving and investing:

SAVE – A penny saved is worth more than a penny earned. Almost all earned income in the US is taxed. If you are in the 25 percent tax bracket, that dollar you earned is worth only $0.75 after taxes. That is a huge discount versus the dollar you have already saved! Remember, when you have saved a dollar, you have already paid your taxes on it.

To present to your child the idea of savings, consider setting up three jars labeled “long-term savings,” “short-term savings” and “tithing or charity”. Then, pay your child for chores he or she completes, and teach him or her to put a portion of the money in each jar. For example, if your son wants an iPod, tell him he can buy it, but only once there’s enough money in the “short-term” jar.

INVEST – Would you rather have $1,000 today or $1,000 in a year? If you shouted “today,” it’s for good reason. Money today buys more goods and services because inflation rises those costs in the future. In addition, you can invest and earn interest on the money today immediately.

For example, let’s say you start investing your savings today ($1,000 every month). At the end of one year, you will have accumulated $12,464 at 6 percent. If you continue the practice, you will accumulate $1,227,087 over 30 years, assuming a 6 percent rate of return. BUT if you wait just 10 years to begin your savings practice, the consequences are daunting: at the end of the same 30 year period, your savings are about $500,000 as compared to $1,227,087 … a huge difference, which commonly means the difference of running out of money or not.

The best gifts we can give our children are to:

  1. Have our financial affairs in order so we are not a burden to them at any stage.
  2. Plant seeds of financial prudence, allowing them to be financially free, live a good life, and be good stewards with their money.

It is said that “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a first step.” The ant starts with small particles but eventually ends up creating mounds thousands of times their size. Note that saving and investing are the path of prosperity and the wealthy regard them as their most important priority. Producing enough money during retirement is the result of our investment philosophies, strategies and practices during all 40 years of our careers and 30 years of retirement. By choosing the appropriate investment philosophy, employing the proper investment strategies and embodying powerful investment practices, investors have superior opportunities to produce enough harvest to protect their survival, and allow for financial freedom. You reap what you sow, sow wisely.

Katie Miller Witter, co-owner of Financial Harvest Wealth Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor Firm located in Winter Park, has more than ten years of investment advisory experience and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®) Candidate and CERTIFIED SUCCESSION PLANNER™. She obtained her Bachelors of Science in Business Finance & Marketing from the University of Florida and her Masters of Business Administration from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. She serves on the Crummer Alumni Board, Downtown Orlando YMCA Board, and is a graduate of Leadership Winter Park and Leadership Orlando. Katie is married and lives with her husband, David, and son Will, in Winter Park, Florida. Katie can be reached at 407.937.0707 or katie@financialharvest.com.

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