Pathfinders Program

Congratulations! You're an adult. Maybe you just graduated college or landed your first job. Maybe you've been an adult for a decade already but are just starting to look toward the future. Now what?

Before we get started, take some time to write out your financial goals. Ask yourself what type of life you envision? Does that include owning a home? An apartment? Travel? Kids? Graduate school? Retirement? Once you have a better idea of your goals, then comes the fun part: The planning! 

On this page, you'll find links to educational resources. This is by no means an all inclusive list, but it covers some of the core pillars of financial planning. Once you are ready, contact Steve to make those goals a reality.

Budgeting 

Budgets are the benchmark of financial planning. First, figure out where your money is going. There are apps that can help with this, but it's sometimes best to sit down with your last bank statement and calculate it yourself. You can go as detailed as you want, but you can also learn a lot just by breaking it down by the following base categories:

  1. Housing (rent, utilities, home insurance, etc.)
  2. Food
  3. Transportation (car insurance, gas, public transit card, etc.)
  4. Personal spending
  5. Medical
  6. Debt (student loans, credit card, car payments, etc.)

Spreadsheets are your friend! NerdWallet has a list of free templates (here). And if you haven't heard of the Budgetnista yet, go check out Tiffany Aliche's content or ask Steve to borrow her book!

After you know your monthly expenses and factor in your monthly expenses, what's left? Are there areas you can adjust? Maybe not today, but knowing what's happening with your money is a lifelong skill. With all this, a good rule of thumb is to pay yourself first. This means, even if it's $20, tuck some of your income away before expenses. Once you have a steady handle on your budget, it's time to invest.

Stock Market 101

No doubt someone has told you that investing early is key. It's true! Early investments most often reap the highest reward. So where do you start?

To understand investment, let's first talk assets. Assets are either liquid or not. A liquid asset, like a bank account, is an investment that can be turned into cash quickly.

Stocks, EFTs, bonds, and mutual funds are all fairly liquid assets, as opposed to real estate or cryptocurrency. Still! Even though you can turn these types of investments into cash, the longer you keep your investment, the more they appreciate. 

  • Individual stocksA stock is traded on a major exchange like the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq. When you own a stock, you own a portion of that company. As a result, you get some of its assets and profits. 
  • Individual bondA bond is a loan. When you buy bonds, you are lending money to the bond issuer (e.g., a government, government agency, or corporation) in exchange for repayment plus interest by a specified date (maturity). The earning on this investment is largely in the interest.
  • EFT - An ETF (exchange-traded fund) bundles together many stocks or bonds in a single investment and may track an index. When you own an ETF, you own a portion of its underlying portfolio. An ETF also trades on major exchanges. 
  • Mutual fundsA mutual fund, like an ETF, bundles together many stocks, bonds, or other securities in a single investment. This is similar to EFTs, but ETFs trade on major stock exchanges directly from one investor to another. Mutual funds are sold by companies, banks, and brokerage firms.

After learning about all the options, it may be tempting to jump all in. But putting together a strong portfolio takes time. In the stock market, patience and balance are key. It's important to invest intentionally, keeping in mind your long term goals. Bring your ideas to Steve and Sam so they can use their knowledge and resources to craft the strongest portfolio with you.

Housing

Real estate can be both a personal and financial investment. After the 2008 housing crisis and in the post-2020 era, even secure a single family home can feel daunting. The good news is that owning a home is possible, with careful planning. Money Under 30 has some good educational articles to look over. When you're ready, Steve and Sam can help with incorporating your housing dreams into your financial plan.

Professional Development

Student loan debt is a 

https://www.themontanegroup.com/resource-center/money/exploring-the-federal-student-grant-program 

Family Planning

Financial literacy and 

Retirement

Our first priority is helping you take care of yourself and your family. We want to learn more about your personal situation, identify your dreams and goals, and understand your tolerance for risk. Long-term relationships that encourage open and honest communication have been the cornerstone of my foundation of success.

Ready for step two? Set up an appointment with Steve or Sam, our Pathfinders lead, to create your portfolio.

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