BOSTON (CBS) – Step 3 in putting together your financial plan is to start saving and investing to reach your goals.
Review your goals. Knowing when you want to reach them is your time horizon. You have that four-year-old you want to send to college in 14 years or you have a 22-year-old who wants to get married in two years. Different time horizons. And you would choose different investments for each goal.
Your time horizon should dictate what you invest in and how much risk you take. The longer the time horizon the more risk you can take on for you have time on your side to ride out the ups and downs of the stock market. For the four-year-old you might choose the Massachusetts 529 College Saving Plan sponsored by MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority) and provided by Fidelity.
As for the 22-year-old you just may buy a one and two year CD or use a money market fund to be sure the money is there when you have to start making those deposits to book the venue and caterer.
You will have to educate yourself about investing:
- Listening to WBZ radio every day is a good beginning. We have market updates all day long as well the business reports and Money Matter segments every afternoon.
- Bookstores: There is now a section for personal finance books. I wrote five of them.
- The Internet: There is so much good free information out there. Stay away from the chat rooms though. Market Watch is one of my favorite sites. All of the major mutual fund companies provide lots of good information as well as a sales pitch for their funds. Tomorrow’s Money is good site for beginners.
- Turn on CNBC, which is dedicated to money and investing. But just because they recommend a stock you should not put in a buy order. Do your homework before purchasing a stock.
- Investment Clubs: Start an investment club with your friends. The NAIC ( National Association of Investor Corporation) can help you start a club. 877-275-6242
- AAII, the American Association of Individual Investors has good conferences and a great monthly newsletter. $29 a year membership 800-428-2244
- Magazines and Newspapers: Read the business section of our Boston papers as well as the Wall Street Journal. Good magazines; Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Money, Smart Money, Fortune, Forbes, Barrons.
- Financial Planner: Doing it yourself may not be working for you and you may need help.
To find a financial planner to help you achieve your goals and dreams in your area contact the FPA, the Financial Planning Association’s local Boston chapter or their national website. Check out the free events the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts has planned.
To find a planner to help contact:
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
3250 North Arlington Heights Road,
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(NAPFA has a membership of fee-only planners. Membership: 1,100+)
Garrett Planning Network
12700 Johnson Drive
Shawnee, KS 66216
A network of fee-only financial planners willing to work with consumers on an hourly, as needed basis. This is new organization with only a small number of planners.