Have you started investing for your future?
For Roaring Fork Valley young professionals, small business owners and parents, it’s never too early or too late to develop an investment strategy
Brought to you by Brian Thomas, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones
About 42 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 don’t have a retirement savings account, and research shows that nearly 40% of Americans couldn’t come up with $500 in cash without selling assets or taking out a loan.
Financial Advisor Brian Thomas, of Edward Jones in Aspen, wants to help young professionals and business owners in the Roaring Fork Valley buck these trends.
Thomas grew up visiting Aspen with his family on ski trips. After he finished graduate school and picked up a master’s degree in finance from The Ohio State University, he knew this was where he wanted to end up. But his goals are much greater than just living here to enjoy the lifestyle.
“This job gives me an opportunity to become a member of my community by helping individuals and businesses plan for their future,” he said. “I want to partner with clients throughout their life stages to achieve their goals — building these lifelong relationships with my clients is really important to me.”
Here are the three types of clients in the Roaring Fork Valley that Thomas is particularly excited about helping.
Young people in Aspen and throughout the valley often make sacrifices in order to live here. Those who work jobs in the hospitality and service industries also face drastic seasonal shifts in earning potential.
“Unfortunately in this valley, there are a lot of hurdles to being able to live and work here sustainably. You have to create a budget for yourself and understand your long-term goals,” Thomas said. “A lot of people don’t budget, and that’s a great place to start.”
The first step when Thomas meets with young clients is understanding what their long-term goals are. Too many people don’t think about where they’d like to be in 10, 20 or 30 years, he said.
Once those goals are identified, it’s time to create a more rigid budget to help clients understand what they can spend on discretionary items and what they could be saving.
“You want to be able to spend the money you earn and have fun, but it’s so much more advantageous to save small amounts when you’re young rather than play catch-up when you’re 40,” he said. “It might not be fun to put $100 a month into a Roth IRA when you’re in your 20s, but you’ll thank yourself and the power of compound interest 30 years from now.”
Brain Thomas, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, wants to help Roaring Fork Valley individuals and businesses develop customized savings strategies. If you’re not sure where to begin, Thomas can help.
Parents who want save for children’s education
Student loan debt is a major hurdle for young people in America. Instead of contributing to a 401K or a Roth IRA, many people are spending $500 to $1,000 a month on their student loan payments with no money leftover for savings.
“It can really affect individuals for quite a long time post-graduation,” Thomas said. “One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is financial freedom after college.”
He believes strongly in 529 plans, which are tax-advantaged savings plans for future education costs. The money in the account grows tax-free and there are no penalties as long as the funds are used for qualified education expenses.
“I love to work with young families and bring value to their lives,” Thomas said. “I want to understand what’s important to my clients and create customized strategies for them, and 529 plans are a really great option for parents.”
The strong core of small businesses in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley are major drivers of the local economy. Thomas wants to help those people create sustainable, long-term businesses that don’t just help the business owners, but also their employees.
Business owners who offer some sort of retirement savings plan have greater employee retention and satisfaction, Thomas said. And that leads to greater economic good for the community and better quality of life.
“It can be tough to get retirement solutions through smaller businesses, but I can help set those up,” Thomas said. “I want to help businesses help their employees save for retirement.”
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Mario Ruiz came to Aspen Highlands from Bariloche through the ski patrol exchange as part of the Sister Cities program last winter. He quickly ingrained himself with the Highlands patrol. Ruiz was killed July 27 in an avalanche while working at his home ski area. The Highlands patrol is raising funds for his family.