Ready to turn your financial dreams into reality? On this episode of A Wiser Retirement™ Podcast, Casey Smith and Missie Beach, CFP®, CDFA® impart wisdom on proper financial planning and the concept of an opportunity fund. This fund can be your secret weapon to achieving family goals such as going on a grand vacation or buying a vacation home.
Before we can talk about opportunity funds, we need to talk about how to get to the point of having an opportunity fund. It is human nature to want to fast forward to the reward without really thinking about the sacrifices that one needs to make to get there. This episode focuses on how financial success is intentional. There is no reward without a great deal of sacrifice.
The Path to Creating an Opportunity Fund
1. Eliminate Debt
The first step on the path to accumulating wealth is to eliminate debt. You may think that having a car payment of $1,200/month while making $30,000/month is not terrible. However, if you look at it from the perspective of someone who’s building wealth, sending money in interest to the bank every month definitely doesn’t work on your side to help you achieve your goal of building wealth.
2. Build an Emergency Reserve
After eliminating all unnecessary debt, then you’re going to begin building your emergency reserves. The good news is that with some savings accounts earning interest of 4%-5% now, your emergency fund could actually generate some money. However, the real ROI of an emergency fund is what that money can do for you in real emergencies or very specific situations. For example, if you lost your job and you want to wait and find the best job opportunity instead of accepting the first job offer you get, having an emergency fund in place can allow you to do this. An emergency fund can give you the flexibility to take time to apply to different job opportunities, and wait for the right job offer that will fit what you are looking for.
3. Save for Retirement
Saving for retirement is common. However, people usually look for professional financial planning because they can’t really tell if their plan is actually going to work. They often wonder if they are saving enough for retirement or if they are invested in the best way for their situation. When clients are provided with guidance, they can usually adjust their goals and the stepping stones to reach those goals. Saving for retirement will give you peace of mind knowing that you will have a comfortable future once you retire.
4. Consider Your Children’s Education
Once retirement money is put aside consistently and diligently, it’s important to consider your children’s education. Each family has a different view on this matter, and there is no right or wrong answer. Some agree that parents should pay for 100% of the kids college education. Other parents decide to pay for half, and some aren’t able to help with college expenses at all. Whatever category your family falls into, that needs to be a part of your plan for the future.
Your Opportunity Fund
You finally made it to the opportunity fund! This is what you do with the extra dollars after you’ve followed all of the steps above. A lot of people get to this point and feel lost. This is where people often need guidance so that all of that extra money doesn’t just go to Starbucks or Target.
We recommend that all families come up with a family mission. It becomes easier to work towards something if everyone understands and is in agreement on what the family wants to reach together. When there are excess funds, it becomes even more important to have that clear mission because that’s the time to start acting on your long-awaited dreams. If traveling and building memories with your family is part of your mission, then maybe this is the time to buy those plane tickets or the RV. Maybe your family’s mission is to get involved in different charities or create a fund to help those in need. Your family mission will dictate how to best use your extra dollars in a way that will bring joy and build lasting memories.
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