At the core of financial success lies a meticulously crafted financial plan, a roadmap guiding you through the avenues of income, savings, and investments. The journey begins with understanding your purpose and mapping out your goals. Finding a trusted financial advisor is often invaluable in this process, offering both guidance and accountability as you sculpt your financial future.
Creating a Secure Safety Net
A well-planned emergency fund is the cornerstone of financial responsibility, acting as a protective moat around your financial castle. This safety net is more than just a pool of funds; it’s a strategic reserve that guards against the necessity of incurring debt during times of crisis. It’s crucial to remember that the fund should be liquid, meaning it can be quickly accessed without incurring penalties or losses due to market fluctuations.
Some might opt for a high-yield savings account or a money market account, which can provide slightly higher interest rates while still maintaining high liquidity. The key is to have the fund in a separate account to avoid the temptation of dipping into it for non-emergencies, thereby ensuring that it serves its intended purpose of covering unforeseen expenses such as medical emergencies, urgent home repairs, or sudden job loss.
Setting Goals: Short, Medium, and Long-Term
When setting financial goals, it’s important to apply specificity and realism to each category.
Short-Term Goals (1-5 years):
These goals are transactional and provide quick gratification upon completion.
- Saving for a vacation
- Building a wedding fund
- Paying off credit card debt
Medium-Term Goals (6-10 years):
These goals require disciplined saving and investing with a moderate risk tolerance for desired growth.
- Saving for a down payment on a house
- Starting a business
Long-Term Goals (10+ years):
These goals are often achieved through disciplined, regular contributions to investment accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs, or education savings accounts.
- Securing a comfortable retirement
- Paying off a home mortgage
The Process of Diversification
Diversification transcends the simple allocation of assets across stocks, bonds, and cash. It involves a nuanced approach that considers various sectors, geographic locations, and asset types to mitigate risk. For instance, including international investments can protect against domestic market volatility, and incorporating bonds can provide a steady stream of income regardless of stock market conditions. Real estate and commodities can serve as hedges against inflation.
Moreover, diversification isn’t a one-time action but a dynamic process. As the financial markets and personal circumstances change, so should the diversification strategy. This may include rebalancing the portfolio periodically to maintain the desired level of risk and return. The objective is not necessarily to maximize returns in the short term but to position the portfolio for consistent growth over time, minimizing the impact of any single investment’s poor performance on the overall financial health.
Ensuring Adequate Insurance Coverage
Effective financial planning involves a comprehensive approach to insurance, ensuring you are prepared for the unexpected. Health and long-term care insurance need to be carefully selected to cover rising medical and care costs as one ages. These policies should be revisited as healthcare legislation and individual health circumstances change. Property and casualty insurance must be robust enough to cover the full replacement value of assets, not just their current market value.
Disability insurance is also crucial, as the likelihood of temporary or permanent disability before retirement is non-trivial. The coverage should align with your income needs and duration of work life. Life insurance, whether term or whole life, must be evaluated not only on the death benefit but also on any additional riders, such as those for chronic illness, which can provide flexibility in the face of long-term health changes.
Personalizing Your Plan
A personal budget must be a living document that reflects current income streams, expense patterns, and financial goals. It should account for both fixed and variable expenses and provide a framework for discretionary spending. Retirement planning is a critical component of this budgeting process that requires the consideration of various income sources in later life, such as Social Security benefits, which should be optimized based on individual work history and expected longevity. Personalizing your plan also means being proactive about tax planning, understanding how different retirement savings vehicles are taxed, and planning contributions and withdrawals in a tax-efficient manner.
Maintaining Control Over Your Insurance
Owning your insurance policies outright, rather than relying on employer-provided options, gives you long-term stability and control. This is particularly important for life, disability, and long-term care insurance. With job transitions, layoffs, or changes in employment status, having your own policy ensures continuous coverage. It also allows you to tailor your policies more closely to your individual needs, independent of any employer’s blanket policy limits or terms. Furthermore, individual policies can often be adjusted as your circumstances change, such as increasing coverage or adding riders for additional protection.
Reviewing and Refining Your Financial Strategy
A financial plan is not set in stone; it’s a dynamic guide that must evolve with your life’s seasons. Regularly scheduled reviews of your financial plan are essential, ideally on an annual basis or when significant life events occur, such as marriage, the birth of a child, or a career change. These reviews should encompass all aspects of your financial life, including investments, savings rates, insurance coverages, estate plans, and tax strategies.
A financial review provides an opportunity to reassess goals and realign strategies, ensuring that you are on the most effective path toward achieving your financial objectives. The review process is also a time to reassess risk tolerance and investment performance, ensuring that your portfolio’s asset allocation continues to reflect your current risk appetite and life stage.
Planning for Success
Your financial journey is unique, and crafting a plan that resonates with your individual goals is incredibly important. With the right planning, risk management, and insurance strategies in place, you are well-equipped to build a legacy of wealth on purpose, for yourself and for generations to come.
If you have any questions or want to know how to get your hands on a copy of “Wealth on Purpose” by Bryan Ballentine, give us a call!
Have a great weekend!
Sources: “Wealth on Purpose” by Bryan Ballentine
Golf Tip of the Week
How I’ve Added Real Distance This Winter
I used to be a bit of a bunter. I won’t bore you with the reasons, but trust me, it was apparent. I knew it. My friends knew it. Wiseass Internet commenters certainly knew it, and they were not afraid to tell me they knew it, either.
When I started the Stack System, a speed-training program that Matthew Fitzpatrick credits with bolstering his distance enough to win the 2022 U.S. Open, I had two primary goals: The first was to increase my body’s ability to swing hard. The second was to increase my willingness to swing hard. I’d argue the latter was the bigger hurdle, yet what’s apparent from devoting my winter to speed training is how I’ve made headway with both.
You can read in greater detail about my progress with the Stack, gaining more than 10 mph of clubhead speed to date, but one important element I’d highlight here is the extent to which the process benefits from instant feedback. You make a swing with a weighted shaft, you see your swing speed on a small radar, and you make adjustments—loading more to your right side, opening your hips as you begin the transition, etc.—to get a faster speed with the next one. Maybe it’s the inner 13-year-old boy in me, but it feels like a game in which I’m trying to unlock the next level.
The other significant breakthrough was after hitting balls in the simulator, I learned that swinging harder didn’t need to come at the expense of control. That used to be a hangup of mine, but I now know better. It’s by engaging more of my lower body that I’m able to sequence the swing better than before. If you’re impressed, don’t be: I still have a long way to go. But if you’re looking to add some pop off the tee, a speed-training program like this one can help.
Tip adapted from golfdigest.comi
Recipe of the Week
- 2 shots cognac-based red passionfruit liqueur (recommended: Alize
- 1 shot red cranberry juice
- 1/2 shot half-and-half
- Whole strawberry, for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.
- Shake vigorously and strain into rocks glass with ice. Slice half way up middle center of strawberry and slide onto glass edge to garnish.
Recipe adapted from Foodnetwork.comii
Health Tip of the Week
Dos and Don’ts When Someone in Your House Is Sick
It can be tough to stay well when you’re in close quarters with someone battling coughs, fevers, and sniffles. Germs spread more easily in tight spaces and can cause colds and the flu to hang around your house for longer.
You can protect yourself, though, if you know the right and wrong ways to deal with someone at home who’s under the weather. Give these simple strategies a try.
Wash your hands often. It’s the single best way to avoid a cold. Once germs are on your hands, it’s easy for them to get into your body when you touch your eyes or mouth. Wash before you eat or prepare food and after you use the bathroom or change a diaper. If you’re taking care of someone who’s sick, wash your hands before and after being with them.
You have to do better than a quick rinse under the faucet. Rub your hands together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (enough for two rounds of singing “Happy Birthday”). Don’t forget to wash between your fingers and under your nails. And remember to keep your hands away from your nose, mouth, and face.
Hand sanitizer is the next best thing if you can’t get to a sink. Keep a small bottle with you — at work, in your car, and in your purse. Buy one with at least 60% alcohol. Rub it all over your hands until they’re dry.
Sanitize surfaces. Stopping the spread of germs means making sure you clean and disinfect hard surfaces such as countertops, tables, refrigerator handles, doorknobs, and faucets. And don’t forget TV remotes, computers, laptops, and phones, too. Some germs can live in these spots for up to 24 hours, so make sure you clean with a disinfectant or disinfecting wipes, or quarter-cup of bleach mixed in 1 gallon of water.
Use disposables. Cold and flu germs can cling to fabric. So when someone in your house is sick, replace cloth hand towels and dishrags with paper towels. Remove water glasses and add paper cups in the bathroom, too.
Steer clear when you can. It can be tough to completely avoid a sick person in your house, especially if you’re the one taking care of them. But sometimes the best thing you can do to stay well is to keep your distance. If you can, give the sick person their own room for sleeping and relaxing. Stock it with the items they’ll need, like tissues, a trash can, medicine, and bottles of water. And limit their guest list. The only person who should go in and out of the sick room is the person taking care of them.
Pamper your immune system. Your body does a remarkable job protecting you from illnesses most of the time, especially when you keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Keep eating lots of fruits and veggies. Look for foods rich in vitamin A (sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach), vitamin C (citrus fruits), and vitamin E (almonds, sunflower seeds). Lean protein (seafood, eggs, beans) can also help boost your body’s defenses. Make sure you get plenty of rest. Daily exercise, keeping stress in check, and limiting alcohol also help.
What about loading up on vitamin C or other products that claim to boost immunity? There’s not much evidence that they work. For example, vitamin C supplements might make a cold shorter and milder after you get one, but they can’t keep you from getting sick.
Get a flu shot. It’s one of the surest ways to stay well. The vaccine is different every year, so make sure yours is up to date. For the best protection, get the flu vaccine when it comes out each year in October or November. But even later is better than not at all. It takes 2 weeks for the flu vaccine to take effect, and flu season can last into March or April. You should also get a COVID-19 vaccine and boosters as recommended by the CDC.
Wear a mask. Masks are an effective way to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as well as other viruses and germs. You should wear a mask that fits well and is comfortable for you.
When to wear a mask:
- If you’re 2 years old or older and in an area with a high COVID-19 Community Level
- If you’re sick and need to be around others or are caring for someone who has COVID-19
- If you have a greater risk for serious illness or spend time with someone at higher risk, talk to your doctor about wearing one at medium COVID-19 Community Levels.
If you’re the one feeling under the weather:
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow instead of your hands.
- Wash your hands after you touch your mouth and nose, even with a tissue.
- Finish any medicine that your doctor prescribes.
- Try to steer clear of healthy people in your house, especially if someone has a weak immune system that makes them more likely to get sick.
- Don’t share food or drinks, cups, utensils, or towels with people who are sick.
- Don’t forget to throw out toothbrushes after everyone gets well. Keep a sick person’s toothbrush separate from the rest of your family’s. They can be a breeding ground for germs.
- Don’t let anyone share pillows and blankets with the sick person. They should have their own bedding in their own space in the house. Then, once they are better, wash everything they used.
- Don’t let sick and well children share toys. If it happens, make sure to disinfect the toys in between play times.
- Don’t indulge in bad habits like biting your nails, rubbing your eyes, or chewing on pencils. They make it easy for germs to hitch a ride into your body. Remind children to keep their hands — and any other not-so-clean objects — out of their mouths, noses, and eyes.
Tip adapted from WebMD.comiii
Copyright (C) 2021. Ballentine Capital Advisors. All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Ballentine Capital Advisors
15 Halton Green Way
Greenville, SC 29607
Ballentine Capital Advisors is a registered investment adviser. The advisory services of Ballentine Capital Advisors are not made available in any jurisdiction in which Ballentine Capital Advisors is not registered or is otherwise exempt from registration.
Please review Ballentine Capital Advisors Disclosure Brochure for a complete explanation of fees. Investing involves risks. Investments are not guaranteed and may lose value.
This material is prepared by Ballentine Capital Advisors for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation or solicitation or any particular security, strategy, or investment product.
No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve future profits or losses similar to those shown. You should not assume that investment decisions we make in the future will be profitable or equal the investment performance of the past. Past performance does not indicate future results.
Advisory services through Ballentine Capital Advisors, Inc.