Financial Advisor News

Piedmont, CA

Financial Advisor News

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Piedmont, CA

by: ALISON VAN DYKE

FIRST AND MAIN FINANCIAL

(510) 601-1935

Oakland, CA | East Bay; Financial Advice on 401(k)Plans

What’s the Role of a Financial Advisor?

I’m Erik Wolfers. I’m the managing member of First & Main Financial. We’ve been helping individuals with their finances since 2001. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about 401K plans. In the nearly two decades that I’ve been advising individuals, I’ve looked at hundreds of 401K plans. Most 401K plans, or many 401k plans have actively managed mutual funds inside of them and the advisor on these plans then has the job of working with plan sponsors to make sure that the funds are still good and relevant from one year to the next. Sometimes a fun underperforms but then it turns around, so that’s a challenge to try to guess if a underperforming fund is going to continue to do so or is going to turn around and perform as it has in the past; if it has a long track record.

There are many 401K plans that have passive investment vehicles or index funds. With an index fund you should expect a certain return over a long period of time, and then what does the advisor do on these plans?

The way we do 401k plans, as the advisor, we spend our time consulting with the participants with the plan. The 401k industry provides a lot of self-help, but in my experience, some time and individual attention with the participant of the plan can potentially have an enormous impact on the outcome of their wealth over time, over several decades.

Sometimes, people have limited experience with investing. They don’t know how much to save, they don’t know what the proper asset allocation is and they don’t necessarily trust the online tools—and they shouldn’t necessarily either because the advice is generally generic.

So, that’s the way we do 401k plans is to actually advise the participants of the plan and it has a big positive impact, generally, for the people that seek our advice in the plans. It’s a better way of doing things.

If you are looking for some financial guidance; whether for a one time financial plan or continuing advice on your investments, we invite you to meet with a First & Main Financial planner for a free consultation. We would be more than happy to sit down with you, assess your situation and review our services to help navigate your financial future.

Oakland, CA | Piedmont; What Does a Financial Planner Do?

Financial Planning is Not Only About Investing

Hi my name is Erik Wolfers. I’m the managing member of First & Main Financial. We’ve been helping people with their personal finances since 2001. People generally come to us or often search for a financial planner because they want to know where they stand and they have questions about the way that they’re doing things or the way that they could be doing things. 

Some of the questions we get are: Can I buy a home? Should I buy a home? Can I retire? When can I retire? Can I retire early? Will I be able to get my kids through college? Do I have enough insurance? What should I do with my student debt? How can I pay less in taxes? How should my 401k be invested? When is a good time to get back into the stock market? Can I lose money in the stock market? Should I do a Roth IRA? Should I pay down my mortgage early? Can I buy a vacation home? Can I remodel my house? How much could I spend to remodel my house? 

For all these questions and many others — involving stock options or real estate ownership, sometimes we build a lifetime cash-flow model for our clients, and we also calculate a probability of success depending on the types of things that the client wants to do or potentially do in the future. We can compare various scenarios and see which comes out with the best results or acceptable results, depending on someone’s preferences.

Usually, after people have gone through this process with us, they want to have an ongoing relationship so that we can revisit their plan from time to time and they can ask questions whenever they have them or whenever their life circumstances change.

We work as fiduciaries for our clients, which means our only interest is getting the best outcome for our clients. Our fees are unusually low and we choose to work with anybody that needs our help. It doesn’t matter what their level of wealth is. We have artists and teachers and non-profit workers as well as venture capitalists. 

If you are looking for some financial guidance; whether for a one time financial plan or continuing advice on your investments, we invite you to meet with a First & Main Financial planner for a free consultation. We would be more than happy to sit down with you, assess your situation, and review our services to help navigate your financial future.

 

Oakland, CA | East Bay Financial Advice on Paying Your Mortgage Early

Is Paying down a Mortgage Early a Good Idea?

Hi I’m Erik Wolfers. I’m the managing member of First & Main Financial. We’ve been helping folks with their personal finances since 2001. 

I’m going to talk a little bit today about paying off your mortgage early. 

We have clients that come to us who are paying their mortgage off early. They’re paying more than they need to, to have the mortgage end sooner. They look at the amount of interest they’re going to pay the bank over the years and they make the assumption that they’re going to be better off by not paying this interest. 

If you take the additional money that you’re sending to get your mortgage paid down early and you invest it, you should over a long period of time generate a higher rate of return, oftentimes a significantly higher rate of return, than the amount that you’re paying in interest on your mortgage. 

And so the math is pretty simple: if I take an additional $500 a month and I save it and invest it, I will create a pool of wealth that eventually I can pay the rest of my mortgage off with later, 15 or 20 years later, and I’ll have money left over. I just created wealth that I otherwise would not have had. 

Paying a mortgage is not a lot of fun, a lot of people don’t like it. But if you are working and you have a long time to work and you’re likely to stay employed and work until a traditional retirement age, it’s very likely that you will increase your wealth dramatically by saving and investing, as opposed to paying your mortgage off early.

Thank You.

If you are looking for some financial guidance; whether for a one time financial plan or continuing advice on your investments, we invite you to meet with a First & Main Financial planner for a free consultation. We would be more than happy to sit down with you, assess your situation, and review our services to help navigate your financial future.

 

Oakland, CA | Easy Bay Financial Planners Help with Managing Cash

Understanding Risk/Reward of Cash Investing—

Hi I’m Erik Wolfers. I’m the managing member of First & Main Financial in Oakland and Piedmont California. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about cash. Often times people come to us who have a big pool of cash and they’re not sure what they should do with it. They want to have some level of conservatism in their life, but cash or a long period of time, if you don’t use the cash and the cash is not invested, serves as a way to decrease your wealth in the future.

Sometimes people have cash that’s in a savings account at a bank earning virtually nothing. There are online savings accounts that are FDIC insured that we’ll refer people to, where they’re making more than 1%. Interest rates have been coming down recently but for quite a while you could get to 2, 2.1, 1.85% on your money and it’s not very hard to establish.

It’s also good to do a long-term calculation, a long-term cash flow model for your retirement or your future and through that process try to determine what is an appropriate amount of cash to hang onto; because if you take some of the cash that you might not need in an emergency or for anything and you invest it for the long-term, this is very likely going to serve to increase your wealth, which could result in a better standard of living in retirement or possibly retiring early or paying for kids college. Of course more wealth can be used for whatever the preferences are by the individual.

So if you have a lot of cash, think about how much you really need. Get help doing math on how much you really need and if you do need to hold cash for a while put it someplace safe, someplace insured that pays more than your traditional bank savings account.

 

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BIO: At First & Main Financial, Alison Van Dyke helps clients with their financial lives. She has worked in Corporate Finance for Bank of America and Chase Manhattan Bank. Alison is pursuing the CFP® certification; she received her MBA at Georgetown and her B.A. in Political Science from UCLA.

235 Wildwood Avenue,
Piedmont, CA 94610, USA

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Piedmont, CA 94610, USA

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BIO: At First & Main Financial, Alison Van Dyke helps clients with their financial lives. She has worked in Corporate Finance for Bank of America and Chase Manhattan Bank. Alison is pursuing the CFP® certification; she received her MBA at Georgetown and her B.A. in Political Science from UCLA.