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Financial and retirement planning

No doubt, you’ve been working for a while and focusing on your financial goals. Working with Granite Wealth Management will help to ensure that you are fully prepared for your current and future life goals. You’ve more than likely already become aware of the six steps in the financial planning process. We also believe it is important for you to understand even more about our approach.

What makes Granite Wealth Management different is our focus on each client and their unique needs. In a world of point-and click DIY solutions, our approach may not be right for everyone. But we’ve learned through decades of experience that it’s a way of helping you succeed. Our company develops personalized, comprehensive financial strategies for our clients. Our advice comes from years of experience listening to our clients and from experience helping clients work toward their life goals. We believe that providing good customer service is more than a statement, it’s the golden rule. By following a consistent process with each client, we ensure that nothing is missed and best practices are always used.

We call our process the “ROCK” process:

Research – we have to get to know you – knowledge about each client is fundamental.
Objectives – we have to determine what your objectives are and align financial plans around that.
Check – continually check how your investments are doing and make necessary changes.
Know- share knowledge and information in clear understandable language; communicate progress toward goals; conduct ongoing meetings to develop relationships.

At regular intervals, your account will be examined to ensure that the overall diversification of the portfolio reflects your investment objectives. Rebalancing of the portfolio will take place in order to optimize the balance between expected risk and return for your individual investment objectives. Because asset allocation is an important part of a diversified investment strategy, we pay close attention to the proper asset allocation of our client’s portfolios. This is based on the principle that different assets perform differently in different markets and under different conditions. Due diligence is taken at regular intervals to examine each investment to ensure that the performance of each investment is among the best in class available to you. Ongoing performance reporting ensures that you regularly review your investments with our team to understand your portfolio and the changes being made to it based on your investment objectives.

Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.Rebalancing a portfolio may cause investors to incur tax liabilities and/or transaction costs and does not assure a profit or protect against a loss.

At Granite Wealth, we also focus on clarifying more about your mid to long term goals including putting children through college and ultimately, your retirement.

For college, you should consider your investment options as well as how many years until your children will begin college. You can invest your college savings in a multitude of investment choices: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, U.S. savings bonds, and brokered certificates of deposit are just some of the choices. Additional investment options include:

  • 529 plans. State-sponsored qualified tuition programs, commonly known as "529 plans" for the section of the tax code that authorizes them, are helping millions of Americans save for higher education. No two 529 plans are exactly alike, so it’s important to study a plan’s features in detail. At Granite Wealth Management we can help you navigate through your choices.

Prior to investing in a 529 Plan investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program. Withdrawals used for qualified expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.

  • Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (CESAs). Formerly known as Education IRAs, these accounts let families put away $2,000 per beneficiary, per year, and use the money tax- free to pay for education costs. You choose how to invest the money. Keep in mind, however, that there are income restrictions to make full contributions to a Coverdell account.

Two helpful calculators:

When should you begin saving

How much should you save

Just remember, don’t jeopardize your retirement. You may withdraw Roth IRA contributions to pay for college expenses without an early withdrawal penalty. However, be careful not to raid your retirement funds to pay for college. Your child has more avenues to pay for college than you have to save for retirement.

Like everything else in our increasingly complex economy, preparing for retirement is complex. The metaphor of retirement as a three-legged stool - supported by a pension, savings and Social Security - is no longer adequate for lifelong financial stability.

The reasons are varied. For one thing, Americans are living a full decade more than their grandparents. For another, traditional pension programs have given way to defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, that are controlled by individual employees and do not guarantee a return. And many feel the ever-reliable third leg of the stool - Social Security - is no longer a sure thing.

These changes are causing many people to re-think retirement with some planning to extend their careers longer and some taking steps to reduce their cost of living during retirement. Regardless of whether you plan to spend your retirement in your current neighborhood or on the beaches of a tropical isle, there are steps you can take to secure the retirement you want.

At this point, the goal of the Granite Wealth Management team will be to make sure that we are all aligned on your retirement goals, including:

  • Determine how much you will need to live comfortably after retiring. We can work with you on formulas to help you understand how much money you will need based upon your goals & desires. Or, try this calculator to get an idea.
  • Continue to evaluate your tolerance for risk. Has this changed over time? The questionnaire here can help you understand if it is time to do a risk tolerance “tune up” on your investments. Click to riskalyze questionnaire.
  • Know how much you must save every year to address your goal. The earlier you begin saving for retirement, the better. Consider this hypothetical example (not based on any particular investment, your results will vary): $100 a month invested in an account that yields 6% interest compounded monthly will increase to $100,451.50 in 30 years. Because interest rates and investment return vary over time in many types of accounts, it is advisable to diversify your approach. We can work with you to explain this concept of investing today and its relationship to your retirement portfolio for tomorrow.
  • Stay on top of your finances. According to the 2005 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), 55% of workers believe they are behind schedule when it comes to planning and saving for retirement. To avoid that situation, monitor all savings and investments, both in your private accounts and your business (e.g., 401(k), pension) accounts. If you are 25 or over, you receive an annual statement from the federal government, listing the amount you can expect from Social Security at retirement, based on your current level of contribution; be sure to include that amount in your calculations. Total all gains to ascertain your progress. If the numbers are disappointing, consider adjusting your approach to better address your projected needs. Bear in mind that, given the sometimes volatile nature of the American economy, some years are likely to be more lucrative than others.
  • To ensure that you have a choice in the lifestyle you will have during retirement, put aside as much money as possible as soon as possible. Make sure to account for the impact of taxes and inflation. The younger you are when you start contributing, the more you will accumulate. Remember: inadequate savings can lead to financial crisis later in life.

Schedule a visit with the Granite Wealth team to discuss how your financial plan is working for you. Contact the Granite team.

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