I had the opportunity to join a panel of Financial Advisers at the Brentwood Country Club who gave insights and tips for handling your finances. The confusion began when I found out the location was at the Brentwood Country Club – home to some of the richest people in the country. Oddly, they had the same questions everyone has and take the same steps to reach financial freedom, or in their case, keep financial freedom.
Timeline of Event: Drinks & Mingling. Appetizers and Book Handouts. Dinner & Pannel. Q&A. Conversations among guests and panel (Networking).
The entire program was set up independently by financial advisers or entrepreneurs who had to personally learn how to finance and care for their business – oddly, all associated with Wells Fargo.
The audience was made up of other club members and finance professionals. This is note-worthy since it is unassuming that club members and entrepreneurs who grew up in the Brentwood area, surrounded by financial experts would also have the same questions people making the average salary would have. I quickly learned that a lot of them would love to manager their own finances than put their entire trust into another adviser who may screw them over. The second reason was to be able to accurately check the work of their financial team, if they opt to hire one. As for the business professionals, well, they simply want to keep watch of what is happening in the world of finance/banking and keep their brand name relevant. (My role was, of course, the latter).
The first part was made up drinks and networking. Getting to meet the business owners who had real questions was interesting as it humanized the rich and fancy we normally stereotype. The panel used this time to hand out “Money Rules” by Jean Chatzky and start sampling appetizers.
When dinner came around, the panel organized themselves on stage and gave a brief bio and how certain choices have helped them, or their clients reach their financial goals. It was quickly followed by a Q&A and key notes of where to start when getting your money in order (All notes are below).
If you can live on 80% of your paycheck, you will be good for retirement. So, if your life permits, train yourself to under those means.
When choosing a financial adviser, start earlier than later. And never get someone who only looks at your finances. Find an adviser who looks at your account in a holistic sense to gather different aspects of your life, family, goals, etc.
Invest early, invest often.
Having a few credit cards is not bad. 3-10 is a solid number, however is dependent on your purchasing habits and salary. The greater your salary and financial control, the “more” you can have. This should also range in types of credit card, meaning travel, storefront, MasterCard/VISA, etc. Rule of thumb: If you have 10 credit cards and are continuously maxed out on one or across the board, you shouldn’t have 10 credit cards.
When possible, ask for an increase in credit card spending limit. This increases your lending power.
If you are looking to increase your credit score, make 2 payments a month vs only before the due date. Your credit is hit every 2 weeks so you can help it by making even a $10 payment 14 days after the first payment.
Ask a bank if they can refinance your student loans. Consolidating with the right place and develop a relationship with your financial team as much as possible.
Most important thing when it comes to dealing with your money: What are your goals?
First steps toward getting your money in order:
- Pay of all debt – Credit cards, personal loans, etc
- Pay of any student debt that is above 4% interest
- Shop around for a financial adviser for future investments and savings