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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Investment Options

I'm interested in learning about some investment options for my retirement, as I don't have any retirement benefits through my current employer. One of my goals for 2006 is to get something set up for retirement. I'm 27 and don't have anything saved except a small amount from a no-match 401K that I put into an IRA after I quit my last job in 2004. I have a savings account, which I would like to consider investing some of that into an account? (don't really know the lingo) that will give me a better return than what the bank is currently giving me.

Can someone direct me to a few good websites or companies that I can read up on investment options?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 02:26 PM
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Most of the mutual fund families have investment planning information on their websites. One fund family that I'm particulary impressed with is T Rowe Price. One investing forum that seems pretty good to me is Money Talk and this one seems pretty good for Retirement Planning. And Clark Howard, who has a radio show about personal finance, also is a good reference. A Roth IRA is a good vehicle for retirement funds.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 04:21 PM
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I'm a 'soon-to-retire' FC with Smith Barney. You might give them a call at a branch office near you.

Dan
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 04:32 PM
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I have a family member who is a professional investment advisor. Unless you have the time, interest, and knowledge to research investments, get professional help. These folks have access to research and info that the average person can't get.

You should find out what the person's background is. In my state, one can check to see if an advisor has been sued or had any complaints against them. They should have the appropriate licenses to sell securities and/or insurance.

People with the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) are a good choice because they are trained in helping people plan their finances and are less likely to be product pushers.

Ask your friends if they work with someone they are happy with. I'm not a fan of many of the big firms -- they are often full of inexperienced trainees. The independent advisors are usually a step up and are experienced enough to go out on their own. In any case, a good referral is your best bet.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 07:15 PM
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I have to disagree a little bit with Lisa. Katie says she's "interested in learning" and I say, "good for her" because it's her money and she should have control over it and know what's being done with it. But Lisa does bring up a very important point: it does take time, interest and knowledge. One has to commit to putting in the time and effort to learn. So how much time and effort one is able and willing to put into it determines the level of involvement. And the level of involvement can range all the way from minimal, where one cedes most control over investment decisions to a trusted financial professional, to complete, where one makes all of one's own investment decisions. The average person can get almost as much information as the investment professional. I know, because that's my chosen approach, and I have done better than most investment professionals. However, it's a long learning curve, and I think Katie is doing the right thing by wanting to learn as much as she can, and knowing she's starting from scratch, and then she can decide for herself how much she wants to do herself and how much help she needs. But it is a good idea to consult with a financial professional somewhere along the way, even if you elect not to use their services. And look for one who's a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) or a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). These individuals have taken rigorous training courses and passed exams administered by professional accrediting organizations.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Tim -- my stepdad used to be the manager of finance before moving up in his company, and I think he would help me if I asked him for advice. I just wanted to get some basic information before sitting down with someone and making any important decisions. At this point, I have been nosing around Clark Howard's website and Money Talk, as these are sites/people I have heard of before. I'm just confused on where to start and what options would be best for someone my age/income level. Anyway, thanks for the advice -- I'm hoping I get something out of these websites.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 08:23 PM
 
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That's excellent that you're thinking about it early. A couple of magazines I like to get a general idea are Smart Money and Kiplinger's Personal Finance. There are always solid articles on retirement strategies for different stages.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-28-2005, 05:13 AM
 
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I am pretty much in the same boat although you are already a few steps ahead of me. I am 26. Next week I am going to start my companies 401k plan and they do match. I do have a savings account where part of my paycheck goes into it...unfortunately I have been thrown a lot of curve balls lately and have had to pull all the money out so I am back at square one. I don't like the fact that I have no money saved at all right now.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-28-2005, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timskitties
So how much time and effort one is able and willing to put into it determines the level of involvement. And the level of involvement can range all the way from minimal, where one cedes most control over investment decisions to a trusted financial professional, to complete, where one makes all of one's own investment decisions.
Tim, that is true. I know of people who are very knowledgeable, put alot of effort into their investments, and do very well on their own. Time, interest, knowledge and effort are key.

I do want to point out that the level of involvement when working with an advisor can vary, too. My relative has many clients who have the knowledge to manage their own investments, but lack the time. So those clients are higly involved in investment decisions. In fact, hardly any of his clients have ceded control of their accounts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by "timskitties'
And look for one who's a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) or a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). These individuals have taken rigorous training courses and passed exams administered by professional accrediting organizations.
Yes, this is very important. Both of these programs take several years to complete and show that the individual has a high degree of expertise and commintment to the profession.

As for publications, I also like Smart Money and the Wall Street Journal. Check your local library for resources, too. Mine has Morningstar (mutual fund ratings) which is a great tool for evaluating mutual funds.

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