The Verus Team

Trying to Simplify the Complicated.

Written by: Derek Majkowski. Any opinions are those of Derek Majkowski and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.

With further reference to our diagram, even it does not go far enough to properly visualize the complexities and nuances to crafting a financial or investment plan.  While we attempt to list a number of these topics and sub-topics to raise some awareness around some of the different investment and planning considerations, it is important to understand a lot must be weighed, decided, and prioritized.

Let us start with when one needs to begin thinking about all the things that can impact and be impacted by money.  When we first receive some…  This may be in the form of inheritance, gifts, or when one begins to start earning money at a job.  As soon as money becomes a part of one’s life, it is now time to recognize that there are many things that can impact and be impacted by that money.

Once money becomes a part of your reality, you are faced with having to make decisions about what you should do with the funds.  Again there may be some differences in how you receive that money – inheritance, gift, or earned income – but all require some decision making and prioritization.  As you age and your life becomes more sophisticated, there are often more things to consider and prioritize with the decisions one makes with their money. 

There is a big difference in the financial priorities a person starting their first job out of college makes, when compared to someone starting a family with young children.  There are different planning and investment decisions for someone with kids a few years away from college, then a couple with adult children who are looking to retire in the next 10 years.  Someone in retirement for several years may be concerned about their potential health costs, their grandchildren, or making an impact in society.  Others may be focused on traveling and minimizing the impact of taxes on their investments and assets.

All of these differences in needs, goals, and priorities require an education and understanding around the actual goals and priorities one should be preparing and thinking about at these different stages in life.  In addition, it is also important to understand all of the tools available to potentially address and achieve these personal goals and priorities.  It is one thing, for example, to have the understanding that you need to plan for retirement, it is another thing to know how to save and invest to get there.

To make matters more confusing and complicated, the investment universe has gotten more complex with the addition of different investment vehicles and products.  The business of money has also gotten larger, with more companies competing for your money and business.  There are now even more options, opinions, and strategies from which to choose.  All of which is intended to provide the guise of assistance, but often makes the decision process even more challenging and potentially disruptive to a cohesive, thoughtful plan.

Add to that, there is the perpetual uncertainty with the things that can impact your investments and money.  These include market performance – both domestic and abroad; asset price fluctuation; monetary and fiscal policy; regulations; political and geopolitical events; tax policy; interest rates; inflation; exchange rates; and the domestic and international economy.  To just name a few.