Lakewood Ranch financial planner works through investing maze

December 3, 2013 

There are many explanations of a maze. It can be a complicated and confusing system of interconnected paths with some dead ends, or a confusing collection or mixture of things.

Think of the maze when trying to buy a box of cereal at the grocery store. The aisle seems a mile long. There is wheat, whole wheat, sugar, no sugar, puffed, not puffed. It's frustrating.

Ever go to a shopping center without a map? Ever flick through the hundreds of channels on TV to find the one you want? Try finding it again.

The maze often says "Some assembly required." Even with a picture, the project may or may not look the same. Ever have leftover parts or not enough parts? Then in small print comes "Batteries not included."

There are so many investments available that it's a maze to understand what they offer. There are stocks, bonds, ETFs, 401(k), managed accounts, variable annuities, fixed index annuities, long-term-care and more.

There are many investment paths to take. Maybe take the fixed income path but forget that inflation eats into income. Or bonds in a possible rising interest environment could be a big problem.

Or maybe try the growth path but have a bad turn where great losses could occur. Is real estate or gold that safe and wise a path?

It seems anything can happen to what was your well-intentioned and well-thought out investment plan.

An often heard comment is, "What happened? It seemed like such a good investment."

Which investments are most appropriate for you? I've found it can be as easy as 1-2-3.

As your financial planner, I will ask what your goals are, construct a plan to navigate the maze, and then monitor your progress.

First, let's talk about your goal. Everybody has different goals, so try to explain your goal to me in addition to whomever you want involved.

Second, let's begin planning just for you. You may want lifetime retirement income or for your estate to go to the kids or charity. Without planning it might not get there.

Third, let's continue monitoring the situation and make adjustments where necessary.

I like to have at least an annual review, just like many of us get an annual medical checkup.

So the choice is yours. Try the maze alone, and possibly get lost and frustrated, or seek help or a second opinion.

Start today. Procrastination usually means you're standing still while opportunities await for your careful and detailed plan of getting through the maze.

James "Jim" Zientara, a financial planner and branch manager with Raymond James Financial Services in Lakewood Ranch, can be reached at 941-750-6818.

Every investor's situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. The foregoing information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of James Zientara and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James

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