Ask The Expert - Kathleen Nolan of Family Focus Financial Group 05/17/2016
Kathleen A. Nolan is the president of Family Focus Financial Group, a comprehensive financial services firm located in Wall, New Jersey. She has more than 35 years of experience in the financial field. In 2007, she and her son, Sean Nolan, founded Family Focus Financial Group to help clients reach their specific financial goals. With their team, they provide clients with portfolio management, investment advice, and a range of insurance options including annuities, life insurance, health insurance, long-term care insurance, and Medicare supplements. The Family Focus Financial Group team makes it a priority to answer their clients’ questions and continually educate them about their options, guiding them toward the choices that are the most productive for their long-term investment goals.
How should an individual’s investing strategy change as he or she ages?
I think it’s important for people to create specific goals for the money they’re investing. For example, if you are saving for the purchase of your fi rst home, the goal may have a 3-5 year time horizon. You would want to be very conservative – perhaps not “invest” at all but rather keep the money relatively liquid and safe. When a younger person is saving for retirement, they have a long time horizon so they can be more aggressive. So it is not necessarily age, but the purpose for the money and the time it has to be invested before it is needed that is important.
A lot of people have investments that are too risky for the time frame. Right now, conservative markets aren’t paying much, so some people are turning to riskier investments even though this isn’t always the best choice.
What would you say is the most important guideline for a new investor to keep in mind?
Before investing, you need to create a financial foundation first. This means having about 3-6 months of living expenses in the event of an unexpected car expense, home repair, medical expense, job loss, etc. This will help you to avoid relying on credit cards when you need the money the most. The words investing and time are synonymous: don’t invest your money if you don’t have the time for it to experience the ups and downs of market cycles. Investing isn’t immediate gratification; you need to give things time to grow. “Get rich quick” schemes make money for Wall Street, not for the investor.
Are there specific investing or wealth management issues that women should focus on?
Get engaged with your finances. A lot of the financial information that is out there is geared toward male audiences because traditionally, men were the financial managers of their households. Women don’t always understand financial information when it’s presented this way, so it’s important that women find wealth management and investing advice that is focused on what is important to them. Women need to be in control of their own wealth without being subjected to condescension or feelings of inadequacy. If you feel this way, you need to find yourself a new financial adviser.
Everyone, male and female, should know their lifestyle number. Your lifestyle number is the amount of money you need to run your life. It’s not just your basic expenses, but a realistic amount of money to live the lifestyle that makes you happy. It’s hard to determine this number if you’re not keeping track of everything you spend, so put yourself on a spending plan. That way, you know what you have left over each month for investing.
Don’t think of it like a budget – budgets often feel a lot like diets, which leave us feeling deprived. Instead, actively plan your spending to allow yourself to live comfortably within your means while still keeping enough money to invest. Dedicate a specific dollar amount to save first, then spend what’s left over. This is important for new and seasoned investors alike.”
How do you recommend that your clients stay up-to-date with market trends and financial news?
It may seem easy to rely on online articles for financial guidance, but a lot of these writers have an agenda. Instead, build a trusting relationship with a fiduciary adviser who knows your life, your needs, and your situation. Building wealth isn’t so much about what products or investments to have as it is about developing a wealth building and preservation strategy. Focus on managing volatility rather than chasing returns – by doing this, you’re smoothing the ride for yourself and will likely have better investment success.
“Investment Advisory Services offered through Global Financial Private Capital, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Global Financial Private Capital, LLC and Family Focus Financial Group are not affi liated companies. Insurance products offered through many fi ne carriers. Not intended for specifi c tax or legal advice. Any views expressed are for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as an offer, an endorsement, or an inducement to invest or purchase insurance products. Kathleen Nolan, Sean Nolan, Richard Feola and Ashley Christen are licensed insurance agents. Only Kathleen Nolan and Richard Feola are licensed to offer investment advice.”