Editor’s Note: This is the final installment in the Journal’s multi-part series where we chatted with experts about some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions and tips for sustaining the goals in 2022.
Edward Jones local financial advisor Tracy Regalia recalled the worry she felt watching her parents and other loved ones approach retirement age, watching the people she cared about live from paycheck.
It was this worry that drove her to enter the financial field, as she continues to help those looking to make better choices with their money.
With the New Year on the horizon, better financial decisions are often on the minds of many, with the New Year being a chance to start over, and Regalia said a good place to start is to go into debt already.
“One of the things I tell people about is their debt and this instant gratification society we live in,” she said. “Everyone wants what they want now, and they’ll care about that later. Whether it’s paying down debt or starting savings for retirement, the problem with extending those financial goals is that the longer we extend them, the more debt we get. The hole keeps getting bigger.
Since many credit cards include an interest rate of 12-22% or more, this continued debt can prevent people from setting long-term financial goals.
“The more debt you are in and the longer it takes to deal with it, the more behind you will be in your long-term planning for retirement,” said Regalia. “I feel like that’s the big deal.”
Regalia guided those who were financially thinking about resolutions to the Edward Jones Financial Fitness webpage, where anyone can access resources to make smarter decisions with money and build for the future for free. She said the page provides an overview of many aspects of money that she didn’t consider when she entered adulthood, with the page offering tools for all ages and situations. .
“These modules are not just for people in their 40s or 50s,” Regalia said. “It caters to all ages of the spectrum – everything from learning about the different types of bank accounts to getting a paycheck and defining FICA and setting your credit scores.” , to different types of credit cards, to buying a home, anything you can imagine. That’s wonderful.”
Educational tools like the finical fitness page are available all over the internet, and Regalia believes education is a huge step in making better financial decisions.
She said that when a client comes to her office she doesn’t look at the numbers the first time, understanding the need to learn about the situation and the person first and address this educational aspect.
“I know, personally, that people from all walks of life and all stages of their financial independence and growth have come to see me,” said Regalia. “I try to reassure them. Often when I meet someone, I don’t even look at the computer. I’m just sitting face to face, “What brought you here? Let’s talk about your situation.
More than anything, she wants to make every meeting comfortable, as taking those first steps to a better financial life can be scary for some.
“It’s never too early and it’s never too late. We are not miracle workers, ”she laughed. “I can’t help 16 years old prepare for retirement at 65 when you have nothing. But I can help you as much as I can with what you have.
Regalia encouraged individuals to consult with someone they trust who is a professional in the financial field to make the best decisions.
Regalia encourages individuals to start learning about finances as early as possible, with the hope that the younger a person starts the better off the future. She nodded to the Edward Jones online retirement calculator, a web page that allows anyone of any age to start figuring out where they are and where they want to be later.
“I take a lot of time to educate my clients, and that’s very important to me because I think if we can get people young enough, we can make them understand the importance of saving,” Regalia said. .