It’s A Family Affair

Judith Aidoo

than a staid growth or growth and income fund, is a perfect way to build wealth with his retirement and college tuition savings. He also likes Putnam Voyager, an international growth fund. The great thing about staying within a family, he also notes, is that he doesn’t have to pay fees to switch his money around.

The couple’s long-term investment horizon gave them the freedom to dabble in riskier funds, such as the Putnam Vista Fund, an aggressive growth mutual fund, Says Vincent, “We’re bound to change our view on the market at some time. Investing in a family allows us to reconfigure things when we need to.” He adds, “that way we can go back and look at our portfolio every three months.” Which is wise advice, indeed.

First Steps on a Golden Path
So, you’re not quite ready to jump headlong into the investment advice we’re given here. Or, maybe you’re well along the way but wouldn’t mind some sound pointers. We talked to Ian Quan-Soon, a New York-based certified f
inancial planner who has identified some tips for those committed to creating wealth:

  1. Get you financial house in order.
    Start by taking inventory of your life. You want to end up with a financial plan that includes at least four components: a realistic budget, investment planning, tax planning and retirement and estate planning. Even the most financially savvy among us would do well to consult an experienced financial professional for specific recommendations. Fortunately, you can get a tailored plan from a good financial planner without it costing you a dime in upfront fees since many planners work on commission.
    For additional information, consult the Institute for Certified Financial Planners at 718-236-7077.
  2. Pay yourself first.
    Plan to set aside at least 15% of your after-tax income for retirement. Then, just do it.
  3. Get serious about living within your means.
    There are many creative ways to reduce the cost of maintaining your standard of living. Begin by looking at consolidating your debt at reduced interest rates. Next, take aim at your weekly budget and consider paring down your recreational and restaurant expenses. A real hard look at your spending habits will undoubtedly uncover ways for you to save money without sacrificing much in terms of your quality of life.
  4. Seek out solid tax planning.
    A financial planner or an accountant can help you to identify ways to legally reduce your taxes. For example, it may be more advantageous for you to own rather than rent your house, given your tax bracket. Or, if you routinely give money to your church, you may instead want to explore signing over securities you own to the church to avoid paying capital gains tax.
  5. Do not let your emotions drive investment decisions.
    Despite the go-go feeling surrounding today’s booming stock market, investments are not akin to the slot machines in Las Vegas. Inventing is a long-term process, not a get-rich-quick scheme. To win at investing, you will need clear and attainable goals, a workable plan to help get you there and the discipline to save diligently and

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