by Sam Sentelle
Making sense of investing
Christopher M. Ball
August 4, 2018
Rotarians heard financial advisor Chris Ball talk about the ins and outs of financial investing at their weekly luncheon meeting today. “The first step,” said counselor Ball, “is determining where you are. You have to know where you are, and then where you want to be. “What are your goals. Some of them are attainable; some are hard to achieve.
“We assess what is attainable, and what you have to do to get there. What plan do you need to put in place to meet that goal. And then — the last piece of it — what can you do to stay on track”.
Monitoring over time is probably the most important part of an investment plan, he said. “It allows you to make adjustments, to make sure your goals haven’t changed, that you’re still online to where you want to be.” What expenses will you face? When do you want to retire? Will you have resources to send your kids to college? “We’re looking at quality, long-term plans,” he continued.
“Diversify. It’s important that you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. You want to scatter your money through different quality investments, but you need to have a single advisor. one who has a full picture of what your financial picture looks like.
“Think for the long term because things fluctuate. Some things you can’t control. You need to focus on things you can control and let that determine your outcome. Some people are more comfortable with fluctuation and risk. Others are not. If you are in retirement, you want to make sure that what you have is preserved for you to use, and that you can pass on to your children and your children’s children.”
The strategy, then, said Ball, is to invest where there is little risk of fluctuation or risk. But less risk usually pays less interest.
“Anyone who invested in the late 90s knows what happened in the tech industry. There was large takeoff and then it changed. You saw a big rise, and then you saw a big fall as well.
“We’re not looking at the next big thing. We’re looking at what is quality long-term and how can we help you get to your goal. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have some technology. But we don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. We can’t control the stock market. We can’t control tax laws. And every investment has risks. But if you are with quality, long-term investments, you’re going to see quality, long-term results — over time.”
“You also can control the level of your debt. Your income is your greatest wealth-building tool. The more of it you keep, and the more of it you can set aside for the future, the greater you’re able to build your net worth. Keep your debt as low as possible. Develop a strategy. Stick with quality. Diversify. Invest in the long-term. And focus on what you can control.”