When you're crafting your New Year's resolutions, don't forget to consider improving your financial health.
Katie E. Brown began her career with Edward Jones in December 2019, becoming the firm's first female financial advisor in Cullman. Serving the Cullman area as a financial advisor and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor has provided a direct path to helping community members implement financial strategies to work toward the achievement of their goals.
CCL: When you consider fitness and blend that with finance, the term financial fitness comes to mind. What does that mean to you?
KB: Getting in shape is something we all want to do, but we limit that often to our physical appearance. When we expand the term "fitness" to encompass our health and mental well-being, we must also consider our finances, families and our faith. To me, financial fitness is not only getting in shape, but also implementing strategies that help one stay in shape. Having tools, resources and a trusted professional available is important to keep people from making bad decisions that ultimately lead to poor financial health.
CCL: What steps would you take to begin getting financially fit?
KB: Budget, emergency savings and insurance! We cannot achieve our financial goals without knowing what we are currently bringing in and spending. By considering your current spending habits, you can look to see where trimming the fat may be necessary. Once you have a grasp on your monthly expenses, ensure there is a savings amount set aside that will cover these expenses in unfortunate situations. Job layoffs, unexpected home maintenance and vehicle troubles can deter us from our goals if we do not have the savings to cover them.
It's also important to further protect a strategy by evaluating insurance needs and implementing a plan. The unfortunate loss of a loved one - a spouse or a child - can really destroy a family not only emotionally, but financially, too. Protecting those you love and your financial strategy with insurance can be a game changer for all affected. I help to make this happen.
CCL: What might be something intimidating about financial fitness?
KB: There are so many terms and rules when it comes to money. One wrong step and not only might the financial future be compromised, but a negative tax implication or estate consideration could be affected or overlooked.
We also have more access to investments than ever before. Everyone has become an "expert" and it can be hard to know who to follow and trust. I try to make investing easier by meeting you where you are, educating you on the next steps and building a professional team around you that can include me, an accountant and an attorney.
CCL: What is the greatest lesson you've learned about finances?
KB: Absolutely save something for later! My great-grandfather always gave my brother and me peppermints when we would visit him in Morris, Alabama. He gave us at least two, telling us that one was to be saved for later. That stuck with me, and I follow that guidance to this day.
The second lesson was that of compounding interest. It's a game-changer! The sooner you start investing, the harder the money can work for you. Your money earns money which then all earns money, which then goes on to earn even more money. It may sound boring, but it's truly powerful stuff!
CCL: Why did you choose to be a financial advisor?
KB: I had a wonderful opportunity to combine my financial interest and will to serve others. When we educate those in our society about money, we can change lives! To create generational wealth is one thing, but what good is it if we do not first create generational financial literacy? I aim to serve people in a way that they feel empowered by their financial strategies, have knowledge of why they are following the plan we set in place and are excited about how those simple steps can be life-changing for them and the generations to come.
"To me, financial fitness is not only getting in shape, but also implementing strategies that help one stay in shape."
"My great-grandfather always gave my brother and me peppermints when we would visit him in Morris, Alabama. He gave us at least two, telling us that one was to be saved for later. That stuck with me, and I follow that guidance to this day."