Today we’re thrilled to have UCM PR Program alum Cory Bittner as a guest blogger. He has some great advice for all of us.
My name is Cory Bittner and I am the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Falcon Wealth Advisors in Mission Woods, Kansas. I’ve been fortunate to spend nearly eight years in the Wealth Management industry and in 2016 had the opportunity to launch my own practice alongside my business partner with the support of our staff from our previous employer.
The technical competency and understanding of the intricacies that drive the capital markets are a prerequisite to serve as a wealth advisor. Over the last several years I’ve capitalized on opportunities (and lucked out things broke my way) to affiliate with prestigious organizations, and educate myself at one of the world’s top business schools. However, I am routinely astonished at the general public’s lack of financial literacy. I’m not talking about P/E multipliers or implied volatility. I am referring to topics that that ought to be instilled in all of us at a young age. My intention is to touch on a few different subjects, from a 30,000-foot perspective, to highlight topics that I wish someone would have explained more clearly to me when I was 18-22 years old.
- Saving/Compounding – Let’s face it, we are not part of the pension generation. New workers today are shouldering more responsibility planning for their own future. If you’re fortunate enough to have a job where an employer-sponsored retirement plan is available to you, and perhaps your employer is even willing to match a portion of your contributions, it is foolish to not take full advantage of that benefit. An employer match on your own savings is free money! The benefits to saving early in life have been well-documented (see page 16 in link provided).
- Buying Your First Home – You’ve graduated college, perhaps you’ve had roommates/rented your own place for a few years, and you’re contemplating making what’s likely your first major purchase. Hopefully you’ve set money aside the last several years to make a down payment. If not, consider the additional expense of mortgage insurance. Purchasing a home where you cannot afford to put down 20% of the cost means you’re probably out of your price range. Don’t rush the process, but make sure that if you’re not building equity in a home (if you’re renting), make sure you’re doing so elsewhere (like the stock market).
- Debt Management – I hope you’re lucky enough to graduate college without student loans! If you’re not, that is okay. You’re one of the Americans that collectively owed more than $1.3 trillion in student loans at the end of June 2017. Research has shown it takes the average bachelor’s degree holder 21 years to pay off student debt. Investing in your education is investing in yourself. That said, don’t put your head in the sand when it comes to the details of your loan(s). Six months after graduation, payments will begin, and you’re going to want to understand how much money you borrowed, and how much interest you’re going to pay over the next 21+ years. Ignorance is no excuse!
When I first declared Public Relations my major at UCM, I did not have the slightest idea the career path that would take me down. I attribute my ability to think critically about the details while viewing the big picture to the UCM PR Department. I learned, as Theodore Roosevelt famously said to, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Resourcefulness should never be discounted. These are life skills that I’ll forever be grateful were taught to me. My hope is this post highlights another proficiency, Financial Literacy, that may help prepare you for what lies ahead.