I was busy baking cookies and washing up dishes when the phone rang. As I juggled dish towels, the telephone cord and running kids the voice on the other end told me that she was a client from more than a year ago and promptly started updating me on the financial status of their household.
It was plenty of wonderful news on how they had been out of debt, they had only their house to pay off and they were steadily working on growing their savings.
I was congratulating her and her husband for their diligence and hard work when we got to the reason for her phone call. They had just found out about a “Wonderful” investment opportunity and they really wanted my opinion of the company and the situation.
Normally, I totally revolt at telling men and women what to do with their money. First off, I am not a trained financial professional and often defer to such people in these sorts of circumstances.
Secondly, I don’t know all the hopes, dreams and objectives you have as a person for your money, so why should I provide you with direction on what to do with your money?
Nevertheless, considering that I had coached this person before I listened pleasantly as she breathlessly told me of this unbelievable financial opportunity and how they were seriously thinking about taking the $5000 they had worked to save for over a year and invest it with this one business.
I then calmly said, “Okay, but have you as well as your husband maxed out your IRA contributions this year?” There was a pregnant pause on the other end before she meekly said, “Um. No.”
“Well, just before I would spend dime one on any investment, I’d be sure that I had made use of the maximum allowed contributions to all of the tax advantaged accounts the federal government offers us.”
I then asked her to contact her accountant about what sorts of retirement accounts were readily available to them and confirm what the allowable amounts were and to contribute to those first before launching all their savings into this other company.
This really is the point, my frugal friend. I know it is not sexy and bold and thrilling, but the accounts that happen to be IRAs, 401k’s and 403b’s are a wonderful and steady way to invest in your future. Before you go for riskier investments, go with what works first! Go with the obvious!
Are you currently doing the obvious? Are you investing with accounts that are actually tax advantaged for you? If you don’t even have a retirement account open, then make your initial investment goal that you simply open one this year.
If you are married make sure you have got one open in both spouses names. Do not jump at the quick buck with all of your hard earned money. Go with the safer and less-sexy investments initially. And when you own your own company, find out ways to go public fast.
As soon as those have been maxed out, then look around with the extra money you need to invest in other things like the stock market. But, obviously, you’ll chat with your financial adviser or financial planner about investor capital and public mergers before leaping into anything, right?