Wealthy and Wise

Tips from the Financial Experts

Article by Libby Furns

Photography by Scott LeBaron

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

Andrea is really involved with the community of Arvada! She serves as a director on the Arvada Fire Protection Districts Board; she is also a long-time member of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce. 

She and her husband Lucus, both Colorado natives, have been married for 18 years and have two teenage daughters. Andrea is in her element when she is coaching club volleyball for her daughter as she also played at Western State. In her 17 years with COUNTRY Financial, she has received the highest honors of being a Million Dollar Round Table qualifier for the last three years and she is consistently a top 10 representative within the company. Not only does she have industry honors, but also is a Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®) and is excited to help you reach your goals!


Let’s Take a Retirement Test Drive 

Retirement is probably something you’ve been dreaming about for years – and we don’t blame you. Some want to escape to a sunny beach or calming mountain top, while  others just want to sip coffee on their porch in the morning and escape the rat race.  We’re here to help make that happen. 

With all of the retirement tips floating around, we know it can be overwhelming. There’s loads of information out there and different approaches you can take. We want to make it easy for you. 

Here’s a simple step you can take to see if you are financially ready to retire: test drive retirement. 

Here’s what we mean: 

• Identify all your sources of retirement income -- social security, your 401k, savings,  and pension. 

• Determine your monthly income from those sources. 

• Set that as your new monthly budget  and continue to work. 

Here’s where the “test drive” part comes in. 

• Direct any income that exceeds your new monthly budget to your 401(k) or other  retirement plans to boost that balance during your “test drive.” 

To be sure you can handle any peaks in expenses, such as holiday expenses and  vacations, keep working for six months to a year and see how comfortable you are with  your expected retirement income. 

If you’re financially comfortable after your “test drive,” that might mean you’re closer  than you thought to calling yourself a retiree!


As a midwestern transplant, Katie loves to explore everything that Colorado has to offer. Her husband Aidan is a culinary school graduate, so they love finding new local restaurants and supporting the farmers market! When they aren’t doing that, they are adventuring with their two dogs, Jax & Oliver. Katie has been with COUNTRY Financial for over 6 years and to ensure the highest possible standard for her clients she is a lifetime learner with a bachelors in insurance, finance and financial planning; she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Chartered Financial Consultant®, and Chartered Life Underwriter® and currently pursuing her Masters in Business Administration. She loves to get to know her client’s specific insurance and planning needs and being a trusted partner in tackling life’s decisions. 

Top 5 Financial New Year’s Resolutions  

It’s a new year: a time to start fresh and dream big. We want to help you not only save money, but protect  the things that are important to you as well. 

1. Set your financial goals for the new year. 

Do you want to pay off debt, set up an emergency fund or college savings plan for your kids?  Maybe you want to put more away for retirement. Whatever your dream is, talk with your  financial rep about how you can take the first step to achieve your goals.  

2. Create a budget that supports your goals. 

Getting an overall view of your income and expenses will help you plan a strategy for achieving  your goals. Try creating a simple spreadsheet or using an online budgeting tool to get started.  Check your budget often to be sure you’re staying on track.  

3. Look for ways to save money on insurance.  

Your rep can look to see what discounts you may be eligible for (did you purchase a home  security system or put on a new roof recently? Talk to your rep to see if you qualify for a  discount). Your rep can also talk with you about other money-saving strategies such as bundling or changing your deductible.  

4. Talk to your insurance representative about coverage for your new expensive items. Did you receive a new smartphone, expensive jewelry or other high-cost items for Christmas?  Talk with your insurance rep about insurance protection for them.  

5. Prepare for the unexpected.  

Use your smartphone to take a video record of all of your belongings in case you ever  experience a fire, tornado or other disaster situation. It only takes a few minutes and it’s much  easier than trying to remember each item in every room, drawer, closet, etc., after a loss.  


Angelo is Denver born, Arvada raised, and proud to have always called Colorado home. His passion for community started at a young age watching his grandfather run his pizzeria in North Denver. Angelo continues to help grow and support his local small business owners through partnership and patronage. His wife also grew up in the area and both are avid, local sports fans. A tradition they are passing on to their two young sons – Go Broncos! Angelo was involved in a major car accident a few years back, during which time his wife was also pregnant with their first son, and this experience gave him true insight into why his job is so crucial and thus he continues to operate his agency with integrity and empathy.

Home Owner Tips You Can’t Afford to Miss 

Winter can wreak havoc on your home if you’re not careful to properly maintain it. Take these simple  steps to protect your home when the temps start to dip.  

1) Disconnect your garden hoses. If you leave your garden hoses connected during winter, any water  left inside the hose could freeze and cause the lining to crack. 

2) Keep the heat on. If you plan on being away from your home for a long period of time, do not turn off  your heating system. We recommend you set your thermostat at 65 degrees or higher. This will help  prevent pipes from freezing and bursting under extreme weather and temperature conditions.  Additionally, it is a good idea to leave your cabinet doors open and the faucet dripping at a pencil-thin  stream during extremely cold temperatures.  

3) Seal your driveway. Consider sealing your driveway if you haven’t done it before. Doing this before it  gets too cold will help protect your driveway from the salt the city uses on the streets during the winter  months. 

4) Do not use salt on your concrete. If you have a concrete driveway or sidewalks, do not use salt on  them! Salt will pit the concrete. Sand is the only product guaranteed not to harm concrete. While sand  does not melt the ice, it will make your driveways and sidewalks easier to walk on.  

5) Clean out your gutters. Removing leaves and other debris from your gutters before winter can help  prevent ice from forming inside the gutters. This can potentially prevent “ice damming,” which can  cause severe damage to the interior of a home.  

6) Take care of your furnace. When is the last time you’ve changed your furnace filter? Keep up with your filter changes and be sure to call your HVAC service provider for your service check-up!

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