The Light asked some financial advisers around town for their No. 1 tip for fiscal fitness in 2011. Here’s what they suggested.
A.J. Gupta, UBS Financial Services, Inc.:
This is a great time to take an authentic look at your financial situation and ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I happy with my financial situation?
- Do I have written goals and objectives?
- Do I have an updated comprehensive financial plan?
- Should I review my estate plan given the recent tax changes?
- When was the last time I audited all the titling of assets and beneficiary designations to make sure that everything was set up to respect my wishes?
- Does my investment strategy reflect my objectives and tolerance to risk?
- When was the last time my financial adviser, CPA and estate attorney reviewed my financial situation together?
- Do I understand the fees I am paying?
- Am I overextended with leverage?
- What are successful investors in my situation doing that I am not?
If you are not happy with the answers you gave yourself, schedule a comprehensive financial review with a wealth adviser.
CIMA, senior vice president-Investments, wealth adviser, heads up the San Diego County wealth management teams for UBS, one of the world’s leading wealth management firms.
Arthur Q. Johnson, A.Q. Johnson & Co.:
In the classic text, "The Intelligent Investor," Benjamin Graham wrote, “Investment is most intelligent when it is most businesslike.” Investing in common stock or a corporate bond represents an ownership interest in or claim against a business enterprise. If an investor seeks to make profits from the purchase and sale of securities, he or she is embarking on a investment operation that not only requires they know as much about the business enterprise as possible, but that it provide for a reasonable profit based on arithmetic not optimism nor speculation.
Mr. Graham concludes in the final chapter of his book, “You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.”
CFA, is president and chief investment officer of A.Q. Johnson & Co., Inc., a registered investment advisory firm in La Jolla.
Scott Kyle, Coastwise Capital Group
: The end of the year is a time of reflection — often filled with many emotions as you reminisce over the year past. But when it comes to investing, leave your emotions at the door along with the mistletoe.
My advice to be financially fit in 2011 is to invest with the left side of your brain. It’s all too easy to get caught up in a feeding frenzy (I’m not talking about seconds on the pecan pie) and buy the newest ‘hot’ stock … after its price has jumped 20 percent. It’s just as common for your portfolio to get dragged down in the panic — when everyone is selling and then you decide to join the crowd. Don’t let your emotions drive you. Remember your goals, think rationally and act accordingly.
is CEO and chief investment officer of La Jolla-based Coastwise Capital Group, an independent money management firm.
Aubrey Morrow, Financial Designs, Ltd.
: My No. 1 tip for financial fitness in 2011 is to live within your means. Strive to become debt-free regardless of your income and follow these steps. Maintain enough in checking to cover one-month’s expenses; then keep three to six months in liquid reserves for emergencies or opportunities in a saving or money market account. Next, start chipping away of all non-deductible debts starting with the highest interest rate debt.
Next, with low interest rates, consider refinancing home or investment properties with tax-deductible interest. Max out all available retirement accounts including Roth IRAs then start a personal investment savings program with a diversified portfolio of a global portfolio of stocks, bonds, real estate and alternative investments. Why? Your financial future is up to you.
, a Certified Financial Planner, is president of Financial Designs, Ltd., and host of The Financial Advisors on KOGO AM 600 each Saturday at 8 a.m.
Jeff Siegel, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.
: The No. 1 New Year's resolution for fitness in 2011 is moderation — in food, exercise and most especially in your financial fitness! Look for reasonable growth from a balanced portfolio that encompasses the following areas of opportunities:
- Invest in companies that generate sales globally.
- Invest in companies that consistently give increasing dividends.
- Invest in emerging markets as they hold opportunities for growth.
- REITS are great as they must return 90% of cash-flow back to the investor.
- Consider investments that help you cope with inflation, the benefit of these investments may increase as the cost of living increases.
- With knowledge, understanding and some strategic planning, these areas can improve your financial fitness through reducing portfolio volatility and adding value to your portfolio.
is a fee-only financial adviser, Certified Public Accountant and credentialed Personal Financial Specialist. Jeff offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.
Bryan Spencer, Russell Ingledew, CPA, Inc.:
Create a budget! This may seem like a simple thing to do, but believe it or not most people have never created a budget for themselves. Dollars are told what to do and by creating a budget, you’ll know exactly where your money is coming from and where it is going. This exercise is a huge psychological boost because you will become increasingly aware of your financial goals and align your day-to-day spending habits with your core values. Mint.com provides a great free online budgeting tool.
Spencer is a staff accountant and financial planner/adviser at Russell Ingledew, CPA, Inc., a full-service tax, wealth management and Insurance Services firm in La Jolla.