January-February 2014 | STAYING THE COURSE

Matt Repass, RFC/CRFA of PKS Investment AdvisorsSTAYING THE COURSE



PKS Investment Advisors' Matt Repass cautions readers not to overlook their financial well-being when making their New Year's resolutions for 2014

Written By: | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

Another year has passed us by, and now, heading into my mid-50s, I’m beginning to understand what I’d heard so many times from my parents and their friends when I was younger: “Time really flies the older you get.” So, here we stand, with 2013 behind us and 12 new months of hope and promise on the horizon. If you’re like me, you like to reflect on last year’s successes and failures, hoping to build on the good and do away with the bad. It’s this type of reflection that leads many of us to make New Year’s resolutions. 
While quitting smoking or losing weight tend to be among the most common resolutions, many resolve to get a better handle on their finances. “This is the year I vow to trim my debt, bulk up my savings, investments and develop a clear picture of my retirement goals,” you may have exclaimed. These vows are created with the best intentions, but if we’re not prudent, we’ll find ourselves back into our old habits rather quickly. Unfortunately, this happens to many of us… and I’ve got the waistline to prove it!
It’s strongly suggested that before anyone begin a new workout regimen or diet, they consult a physician and get a checkup. Of course, the primary purpose is to establish your vital statistics and current health. Knowing your cholesterol, 
your blood pressure and other vital statistics provides you with a baseline of important information and a starting point to measure progress. I think we all understand this process from a physical-health standpoint, but when it comes to improving our “financial health,” applying the same logic gets lost somewhere along the way.  
People fail to make progress in their finances because they don’t apply the same principles a doctor or trainer would. Many judge how well their money is doing by simply opening up their account statements, to see if they have more money this month than last. 
So, if one of your New Year’s goals is righting your financial ship, how do you chart a course toward success? Well, no vessel leaves port without a destination. Today, we simply enter in GPS coordinates, and a navigation system plots a course to get us from Point A to Point B. In order to right your financial ship, you must first determine your Point A. Meeting with a financial advisor is the first step of the process. This interaction can help establish your own GPS coordinates, with a defined route to a healthier financial future. 
During this consultation, an inventory of your present finances/investments is taken (Point A), and a discussion about your needs, dreams and retirement considerations is had (Point B). Additionally, you should receive a clear and transparent understanding of what it will cost to work with this advisor. The relationship you have with your financial advisor should be very much like the one you enjoy with your physician or personal trainer: There must be open communication and mutual trust for the best results. A financial advisor works similar to a rudder on a ship, getting his clients back on course should they be knocked off track. 
So, if 2014 is your year to get in shape, I suggest hiring a personal trainer. If it’s your year to lower your handicap, see a golf professional for lessons. But if this is really your year to design a plan that provides you and your loved ones the 
financial security you’ll need for the rest of your lives, give me a call. As we’ve all heard many times, the shortest route between Point A and Point B is a straight line — and while the events of daily life knock us off course, my golf pro, personal trainer and financial advisor have always put me back on track with clear coordinates for success.

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