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From Matt: When Should I Start Investing?

By financial consultant Matt Griffin

One of the most commonly used clichés in the investment business is “it is never too early to start investing” or “it is never a bad time to invest.” As is the case with most clichés, they contain an element of basic truth but are not widely applicable in most cases.

OK, so HOW do you know when it is time to begin an investment program you ask?

There are three areas of a person’s financial picture that should be completed before talking to someone like myself. They are:

EMERGENCY FUND

Determine the total sum of your monthly bills (including mortgage/rent) and save until you have enough to cover 3-6 months of your living expenses. This money should be in a checking or savings account.

CONSUMER DEBT

Credit card balances should be paid off before beginning an investment program. The reason is that no investment program carries a guaranteed rate of return, but it is guaranteed that the credit card company will charge you interest on your balance. Paying off a credit card balance with an interest rate of 10% is equivalent to earning a 10% return on your money.

401(k)

One should max out their 401(k) contributions before starting an outside investment program. This allows the investor to take full advantage of a possible employer match (which is free money) while also contributing money on a “pre-tax” basis. This favorable tax treatment allows the investor to contribute more money into their 401(k) without “feeling” it as much.

Once you have completed these 3 things, then it may be time to seek help from a financial professional about customizing a personal investment plan. I know a guy that works for Family Trust that could help (wink, wink).

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Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, member FINRA / SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. Family Trust Federal Credit Union and Family Trust Investment Services are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The LPL Financial Registered Representatives associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: CA, DC, FL, GA, MA, MD, NC, NY, SC, VA