The Investment Centre at CBC Bank in Valdosta, Georgia, takes its mission to provide quality advice, investment products, and services to the residents of the community seriously. With their comprehensive and holistic approach, they help clients and their families see the bigger picture of financial planning.
The Investment Centre at CBC Bank serves the purpose of enhancing the financial well-being of all members of the community. There are no requirements to be met in order to work with The Investment Centre because they serve as a separate entity, so they offer their financial services to anyone interested, not just to the bank’s clients. Because of this strategy, The Investment Centre has seen significant growth over the past five years. This growth has allowed the firm to expand into their new location at the CBC Bank Administration building on North Valdosta Road in late October of 2018.
Deanna Smith, a financial advisor for The Investment Centre, is part of a team that works together to examine all areas of the clients financial life and provide objective recommendations to help them reach a greater sense of financial confidence. She talked of the importance of financial planning and how it is crucial to start today and not tomorrow.
“Everyone has heard the saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” Smith said. “This is even more true when it comes to our finances. America is in a savings crisis right now. Compared to the 1970s when Americans were saving on average 11% of their income, in 2018 that rate dropped to 3.1%. If you look generationally, millennials on average actually have a negative spending rate of -1.18%, which means they are spending more than they’re saving. You can’t leapfrog past financial planning. It just doesn’t work. Financial planning and saving creates the foundation of your personal economy.”
Steve Boatner, investment executive, who serves as the lead financial advisor of The Investment Centre, explained that it is good to have a roadmap to your financial objectives. Not only is it a good investment strategy, it can also improve overall quality of life financially and mentally.
“One of the main things financial planning brings about is peace of mind,” he said. “We work with individuals who have a wide variety and range of goals. Retirement planning is a key area of focus for us. Knowing how much income you are going to have, how much you are going to need, and if you are saving enough during your working years to ensure there is no gap between the income and income needed is one of the primary questions we assist clients in determining.”
As Boatner mentioned, retirement planning is one of the main focuses that their advice revolves around. Luke Voigt, another financial advisor on the team, said The Investment Centre often gets questions about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and that clients want the “next hot stock tip.”
“At the end of the day, however, the most important takeaway from The Investment Centre is that you can have a retirement plan that gets you from where you are now to retirement, whether that be in five years, 20 years, or even 40-plus years,” he said. “Once we can develop this ‘holistic’ financial plan, we can talk about the stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles that can potentially work well in your own plan to achieve those goals.”
With the right team, investing does not have to be as complex as it may seem. Boatner said that the first thing to consider when thinking about investing for the future is developing a budget to ensure that foundational financial needs are covered before starting a long-term account.
“Foundational needs include liquid savings, typically three to six months of living expenses to meet any immediate financial needs that may occur (illness, job loss, emergency repairs, etc.), and ensuring basic insurance products are in place to protect you and your family due to disability or death,” Boatner said.
With this is mind, there are several models available to clients depending on their objectives for growth, tolerance for risk, and the time horizon the investment needs to last, according to Boatner.
“Our models consist of individual stocks, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and municipal bonds,” he said. “We also have clients who need or desire fixed income for whom we may employ the use of annuity contracts. For clients uncomfortable with market risk, we have brokered CDs, T-Bills, and fixed annuity contracts.”
It is also crucial to have money set aside in case of medical emergencies, as Boatner mentioned, which can be costly and negatively impact savings. Voigt said one of the most important parts of a financial plan is the implementation of an emergency savings account.
“At the end of the day, however, the most important takeaway from The Investment Centre is that you can have a retirement plan that gets you from where you are now to retirement, whether that be in five years, 20 years, or even 40-plus years.”
— Luke Voigt
“This (emergency savings account) helps cover major expenses such as the dreaded medical bills,” Voigt said. “Beyond that, there are options called the health savings account and the flexible spending account. While both are tax-advantaged and utilized for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, they vary heavily with eligibility, contribution limits, and even regarding access to the funds. It’s best to consult with a financial professional to determine which is the better option.”
While there may not be a “right age” to start thinking about investing, The Investment Centre believes that the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be. Smith said that the only negative thing a client can do is to wait to act.
“The only wrong time to start planning is tomorrow,” she said. “Sometimes getting started can feel overwhelming, so it gets put off until tomorrow, and then the next day, and then the next day after that. Before you know it, you’re close to retiring and you really don’t know if you’re prepared or not. That is where we can help. We will help you break it down into easy steps that are manageable so you can take on your future with confidence.”
The Investment Centre is committed to giving back to the community and providing thebest financial planning out there. If interested in starting a plan for your financial future, visit the team in Valdosta, Georgia.