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Invest in Your Future

Q & A with Edward Jones' Alicia Kough, AAMS™

With the world of personal finance always shifting, figuring out investments and securing your financial future can feel overwhelming. In this exclusive interview, we sat down with Accredited Asset Management Specialist Alicia Kough, AAMS™, a seasoned financial advisor at Edward Jones, to get some professional tips on managing wealth and investing wisely. She broke down her best advice and insights, giving us the lowdown on how to lay sturdy financial groundwork.

What advice do you have for brand-new, first-time investors? 

To start out, you have to look at your current standard of living, budget, etc. and then forecast what your standard of living looks like in the future. We want to first make sure that the amount you’re saving is adequate for the future you’re dreaming about. We also want to ensure that you’re maxing out any opportunities within your employer’s retirement plan. If you’re not, you’re leaving part of your salary on the table. 

If someone has limited funds to invest, where would you recommend they start?

A lot of this depends on their risk tolerance. Mutual funds tend to be a well-diversified option. Exchange-traded funds (ETF) can also be a good option. But the most important thing for people to know is that you don’t have to have a ton of money available to get started investing. Many times, you can get started with less than $1,000 and make contributions on a monthly basis. Just think of it as another bill — except this is one you’re going to use to eat during retirement. 

What do you think about investing apps like Stash or Acorns?

I think they’re great for introducing people to investing. But mistakes can also be made pretty easily on those platforms. I always tell clients that if they’re already on those apps to use it for your hobby money, not your serious money. You need to have good, professional advice for the money you’re going to live on in your retirement. That’s why working with a financial advisor can be so beneficial. You really need to be able to work with someone you can be fully transparent with and whose advice you totally trust in order to effectively grow your wealth.

You can start with less than $1,000 and make monthly contributions. Just think of it as another bill — except this is one you'll use to eat during retirement. 

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