by Melissa Walsh, CFP®, CFA, AIF®
Principal, Senior Wealth Advisor
Recently, I’ve been enjoying social media posts and news reports featuring advice from assisted living facility residents. As a financial advisor, I’m often the one giving advice related to saving, investing, and planning. However, I’m also fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of advice from clients regarding what helped them be successful financially. Here are some of the recent pieces of advice I’ve collected from Allegiant clients:
- Regarding saving for retirement:
“It’s true, increasing your deferrals each year really makes a meaningful difference! I can’t believe the retirement savings I’ve accumulated through this simple practice.”
This is one of the items that I speak about frequently. The automated deduction of 401(k) contributions directly from your paycheck makes this an easy and nearly painless way to get on track or stay on track for retirement.
- Regarding deciding on when to exercise stock options:
“Make a plan and stick to it. Exercise options as they’re going up so you have more than regret if the stock value declines.”
Having a disciplined plan for exercising stock options is very important because of behavioral biases. When we are involved in a company, we believe we have insight and impact into the growth and stock performance of the company we work for. It’s similar to the reason so many people like their IKEA furniture - they put it together themselves and therefore have more emotional buy-in into the finished product. Just in case your company’s stock is also like IKEA furniture - which may not be built for the long-term - be disciplined about exercising your options, selling stock, and diversifying your risk outside of your employer’s stock.
- Regarding entrepreneurship:
“I saw an opportunity, consulted with an expert, and jumped on it.”
In life, there are occasionally opportunities that seem too good to be true. Consulting with an expert can give you the confidence you need to quickly make a decision when these opportunities come along. Making sure that you have great working relationships with these experts - mentors, advisors, colleagues, and confidants - will give you access to them when you really need it.
- And lastly, regarding wealth accumulation:
“Live below your means and save the difference.”
While this one is not a novel approach, it works. People who work hard, live a modest lifestyle, and save aggressively during their younger years are the ones who are often afforded true financial freedom in retirement. While perhaps cliché, you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow this advice. Be someone who does.
While implementing all these suggestions would be a great way to get on the path of financial success, even choosing just one of these items may make a meaningful difference in your financial future. Pick your favorite, put it on your fridge, and make it happen. I can’t wait to hear about how these ideas are working for you, while listening to your own advice for others, and me!