Saturday, February 7, 2009

In which I perform field research on the economy

As you know, the economy isn't doing all that well. But to get a feel for how the economy is really doing, you can't rely on books of statistics. You have to go out into the field, talk to people, and get information.

For you, the Empoprise-BI reader, I made that sacrifice.

Yes, I went and played NTN Buzztime Trivia at Tequila Hoppers this afternoon.

I was talking with a fellow NTN Buzztime Trivia player named Russ (as I've noted elsewhere, he beat me in three out of four games), as well as with the bartender, Terri.

Terri, as all bartenders are wont to do, was making conversation and asking Russ what he did for a living.

It turns out that Russ is a financial planner.

Terri then asked how his business was going.

It turns out that Russ' business is doing quite well. In a way, this is understandable, since a number of portfolios have taken a negative hit over the last few months. In times like these, you'll often go to a certified financial planner to see if things can be improved.

Russ happens to work for New York Life, so I'll quote from one of their web pages regarding financial planning. The page lists nine mistakes that New York Life says that people make. Here are a few of them.

Mistake 1
Failure to Plan

Most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do planning their financial future. To the extent most people have done any planning, it's typically been on a piecemeal basis, and usually they receive different advice from different people at different times, with none of them referring to what the others may have done. It's recommended one person act as coordinator and catalyst.

Mistake Two
No Systematic Investment Plan

One should try to save and invest ten percent or more of one's gross income monthly. The older people get, the closer they are to retirement, the greater the "more" should be. Most people are about three months away from bankruptcy. After setting aside three to six months' income in liquid assets or cash value as a cash cushion to fall back on, a fixed amount should be invested every month to take advantage of dollar cost averaging.

The other mistakes touch upon issues such as not enough diversification of investments, insurance, estate planning, and the like. Read the rest here.

Oh - and by the way, Russ gave me his business card. If you live in the Inland Empire of California and need financial planning advice, email me at empoprises at gmail dot com and put "Russ from New York Life" in the subject line. I'll put you in touch with Russ.

And if you get together with him, ask him a trivia question. He's pretty good.
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