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Clark Financial Services Introduces a Beginners Investment Guide

Graphic by Mary Guevara

Clark College Financial Services hosted a financial skills workshop called “Investing and Building Wealth for the Future” on Tuesday. The workshop featured three panelists who answered questions posed by Clark financial wellness coach Dan Westby. 

The three panelists were Stephanie Venturella, chartered advisor in philanthropy at Ameriprise financial, Heidi Johnson Bixby, CEO and certified financial planner at Johnson Bixby and Delano Morgan, a private investor and fleet manager for Gaynor’s automotive. 

Here are some of the main takeaways from the workshop. 

How do you start investing in High School?

High school is a good time to start practicing investing. The panelists suggest that high school students create a savings account at a bank and schedule payments so they can get in that habit early. Students under the age of 18 can also create a custodial account, which is a financial account that is monitored by a legal guardian.

How do you keep focused on your financial goals?

Write down your goals and track them. This can be easier if you work with a financial planner or advisor, but you should keep records of what it is you want.

Is using Robinhood on the stock exchange a good start?

The panelists said that it is perfectly fine to start investing on Robinhood, but it won’t really teach you. You may also get taxable forms depending on the type of investing you do, so you should research that before purchasing. You don’t want to be surprised with higher taxes because of your investing. 

 How should I invest to buy a car?

Your desired path determines the right time to buy a car. Would you be better off waiting and saving up for a nicer model? Are you just looking for a cheap vehicle to get you to college that you won’t need in two years? Do you have a family and need a nicer, safer and larger vehicle? Do you want a high-end car?

A car is a depreciating asset,” said Morgan. “As soon as you drive a new car off the car lot it loses value.”

“So in terms of investing, I don’t use vehicles for that purpose,” he added. “A nice car, that works is a good idea.”

What is the best way to learn about the stock market?

It is most important to take emotions out of investing. Good things will happen and bad things will happen. That is the nature of the stock market. Bixby said that when he is first getting started with new investors, he likes to select safer investments to ease them into the nature of the market. Although they won’t make as much money, they also won’t lose as much. 

What is a good way to vet a financial advisor?

The panelists identified two factors to consider when looking for a good financial advisor. First is the emotion factor, you need to match well with your advisor on a personal level. It’s okay to shop around for a financial advisor because you want to find one you’ll have a good relationship with. 

The second factor is finding a financial advisor who has an extensive and qualified background. A good website to use is www.brokercheck.com to look into potential advisors.

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