Get your house in order at 33rd & H.O.M.E.

BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Taking control of your finances was the theme of an important conversation that took place at 33rd & H.O.M.E., located at 2646 Central Avenue, Mon., Jan. 25.

With a relaxed atmosphere, owner Isha Haley invited the community to her home away from home to have a conversation with independent Financial Advisor Shavard Branam about how to create a financially sound future, all while feeling like they were sitting in a living room with good friends.

Branam gave a baseball analogy to drive home his financial point. He explained that if a pitcher is slightly off their mark, they might only need to modify their throw by a few degrees and not by a drastic amount.

“Sometimes it takes a really small change to impact our lives in a very huge way down the line,” Branam said, adding that the best time to make those small changes is when you’re young.

Millennials: 28-34 years old

Adults in the 28-34 year old age bracket have the best advantage in planning their financial future with a financial adviser because they have the most times. If they adjust the trajectory of their “financial pitch” when they are young, they could reap substantial benefits even if unforeseen occurrences happen, according to Branam.

One of the tools Branam suggested is to employ a financial strategy called dollar-cost averaging, which is the practice of finding a fixed dollar amount—a baseline dollar amount—to invest over the course of a long term so that you’ll have an average rate of return, said Branam.

“If you do an X amount of dollars over the course of years, you could have on average a 12 percent return on your dollar. That’s good for budgeting. Putting away $100 to $150 every paycheck no matter what shows a form of self-discipline and it’s going to show up the most when you need it the most when an emergency arises,” he said.

Branam emphasized that being financially disciplined when you’re young could be very beneficial to one’s future economic outcome. He expressed a huge amount of enthusiasm for the millennial generation.

“Millennials have a huge opportunity, no matter what media talking heads may say about them, if we take action on the opportunities that we have,” said Branam.

The middle years: 35-55 years old

“That’s the ‘oh snap, I need to get myself together’ group,” he said, noting that most of the people he encounters are in this bracket.

These are the people, he said, that have done some travelling, have had children and have made some poor financial decisions that they are trying to rebound from.  This group is now starting to realize that “now is the time” to lock in on their financial future if they want to experience worry-free years of retirement.

This age group, according to Branam, begins to formulate a picture on how health and certain situations could affect their wealth. These adults have now reached generative years where their concerns may no longer be centered on themselves but on family, or may even be caretakers of their parents.

“The gravity of taking care of someone outside of their normal household is real,” said Branam referring to that group of adults as the sandwich generation because they are sandwiched in between taking care of their children and their parents.

Branam gave an example in his family where his mother retired and his father was close to retiring when they found themselves taking care of their 16-year-old niece and their feisty 101-year old great-grandmother.

At this point in life, Branam said that some of their assets needed to be more protected than others in order to spread the money throughout the remainder of their lives.

The final frontier: 60s, 70s and beyond

“A lot of financial planners don’t talk about income tax ramifications on retirement plans,” said Branam.

Important topics for this age group are having a will in place and keeping the legal portions of the will updated. Branam stressed that issues surrounding legalities such as medical directives should be handled by lawyers.

If you and your spouse are one of the lucky couples able to live comfortably off your retirement accounts, you will need an attorney to make sure that Uncle Sam is taking out only his fair share and no more.

“We [financial advisors] can identify if you’re getting taxed too much in one arena versus another, and that’s ignored a lot because it’s not really understood,” said Branam who noted that this conversation should occur early on so that there are no surprises come retirement time.

In addition, Branam pointed out that the majority of people start out in a lower tax bracket like 10 percent but by the time they retired could end up in 30 percent bracket

33rd & H.O.M.E. is a spiritual wellness center focused on helping individuals find rest for the mind, body and soul. It offers a spiritual gift shop, natural products, yoga, guided meditation, labyrinth walks and conscious conversations, open mic night and much, much more. For more information call (727) 344-9284.

To reach Allen Buchanan, email abuchanan@theweeklychallenger.com

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