Leadership

Establish a Financial Plan Earlier Than Later in Life

Her father was a roofer; her mother was a stay-home mom. There was no pension; there was no retirement savings for their golden years.

Today, her mother currently resides in a long-term care memory care unit paid for by federal Medicaid. She and her three siblings’ support Mom’s other financial needs – careful not to exceed program maximums for her mother to remain qualified.

As founder of the Jones Advisory Group based in Kansas, this situation is one that Megan Jones is adamant she does not want to see anyone face when their working years come to an end – especially her clients.

“I know what this is like,” she said. “I know the reality. I have not only seen this, I live it. I am doing all I can with my clients to make sure they do not have to face this same situation.”
Perhaps the only way to avoid this type of scenario is reverting to the use of a four-letter word: plan – a plan that exists across decades, a span of time that is often uncomfortable for today’s instant gratification society.

meganjones300x300Yet, Jones hears regularly from her older clients – sometimes a bit too late in the game – that having a plan is what they needed.

“I can’t tell you how many times clients say to me, ‘Will you talk to my son or my daughter who are in their late 30s now? I don’t want them to make the same mistakes,’” Jones said.

She recognizes the struggle that folks in their 20s, 30s and even 40s face in saving that first larger sum to invest. It is a big reason why she doesn’t enforce a firm minimum. She actually finds the concept offensive.

“You hear these ads indicating that if you have $500,000 to call this firm, or that firm, and they can help you get started with your investment,” Jones said. “I am even terribly put off by that. I can only imagine how offended potential clients are.”

Regardless of the starting value of the account, Jones said she will take on a client that is committed to creating a savings and retirement plan.

“Sometimes, the people with the most limited resources are the ones that might need our help the most,” she said.

When meeting new people interested in her services, Jones noted that a prospective client’s desire for professional money management is perquisite number two. The first requirement might sound a bit cliché, she admits, but for the Jones Advisory Group team the “nice” factor is their first consideration.

“We do want to fill our days working for people we enjoy and who enjoy us,” Jones said. “We don’t have to be best friends and hang out together on the weekends, but we do have to have a mutual respect and like for each other. The dollar value in their starting bank account is not nearly as important as the relationship that we can build together.”

The bulk of her clients are age 50 or older – folks who might not be ready to retire quite yet, but the coming decades will quickly take them to that fork in life’s road.

At the very least, people need to divide their assets among two buckets – one dedicated to conservative investments that protect their savings, and another dedicated to as much risk as they can tolerate to grow their assets against the inevitable impact of inflation, Jones said.

Having started her advisory firm in 2008 just prior to the Great Recession, Jones remembers the struggle investors faced as the housing market collapsed triggering an overall economic decline and a stock market plummet not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Jones knows that today, investors remember the fear and uncertainty of a decade ago. She knows the market is riding high now, and that another rollercoaster-like drop is inevitable, according to historical records. But, she believes her hybrid investing approach has made her clients ready for the ups and the downs of the market and to use the cycles toward their advantage.

“I believe our philosophy of having money allocated in both options allows us to have a floor beneath our feet when the market takes a big dip,” Jones said. “But it also gives us growth opportunity when the market takes off again.”

Client confidence in those concepts takes education and Jones is happy to provide that for her clients, as well as for students in high school, middle school, and even in elementary school.
Financial education for today’s youth provided by industry professionals is what she believes is missing within the financial services trade, that is why she went back to her high school in Topeka, Kansas, to offer financial education courses.

“Our kids today need to know what it means to get a credit card and start creating credit, and they need to know how to create a budget and how to balance a checkbook even if that is done online,” Jones said. “In general, we just are not having these conversations with our youth and I believe that needs to change. As advisors, I believe it is our responsibility to take the lead in making sure this happens for our children’s future so they don’t end up making the same mistakes that we did.”

Learn more about Megan Jones and the Jones Advisory Group online at jonesadvisory.net

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