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Knowing the options in financial planning

Event organizer hosts forum at Valencia Country Club for 103 attendees

Posted: November 15, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 15, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Financial planner Jerry Citarella speaks at The Truth Helps Success Symposium at the Valencia Country Club on Tuesday night.

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People often spend more time planning vacations in their lifetime than they spend on planning for their future, attendees heard at a free financial planning seminar Tuesday night.

Typically financial planning events are focused one product or strategy that an adviser wants to sell, said organizer Jerry Citarella. His dream was to bring in multiple speakers and businesses, all addressing different topics, to raise awareness for people as to the number of options out there.

Of the some 103 people registered for the forum at the Valencia Country Club, attendees came to the event for a number of reasons.

“You can never learn enough about success and if someone else is further up the road, you should learn from them,” said Derick Dimry of Castaic.

Financial planner Jerry Citarella, organizer of The Truth Helps Success Symposium, says the sentiments he hears most from people are “wish I had, wish I would have, wish I could.”

But life often gets in the way, preventing people from taking the time they need to plan for their future. Two of the bigger foes for successful planning, Citarella said, are that people let their emotions get in the way of investment and planning; or they limit their investment options. He advocates full disclosure by advisers when they may be limited to what they can offer, or the products they’re limited to representing. And he encourages people planning for their future to explore all options so they don’t limit their opportunity for growth.

“I wanted to learn more about investing and grow my wealth,” said Daniel Hunt of Valencia. “I wanted to see what’s in the marketplace.”

Jake Meottel, 19, attended the event because he didn’t “want to make any mistakes,” he said.

Saying there are many good advisers out there, some limit their advice to a small menu of products or services, he said. And while those options may be the right fit for a person — they may not be the only options that will meet all of the needs, or best suit an investor’s needs. And then there are the advisers who only call you when they want to “move a new product,” he said.

“If all I sell is pencils and you need a pen, you’re going away with the pencil that doesn’t suit your needs,” Citarella said. “But if I sell pencils and pens, and lots of varieties of each, then you get everything you need.”

A pencil salesperson will convince you that the pencil is the best tool for that job. Likewise, some advisers will tell a person an option is not a good investment, when really it’s because the adviser isn’t licensed to sell other products or services, he said. Fully independent, fully licensed advisers, however, can offer a whole menu of options for financial planning.

As for emotions, investors often make the mistake of “chasing returns,” he said. They only want to invest in items that are performing well, but that’s not the only option. People should be focused on reducing risks and making investments that will manage returns for the best result. Tax efficiencies sometimes need to be built into an investment plan as well, he said.

People are naturally adverse to taking risks and losses with their investments, Citarella said, but they sometimes want to jump in and out of investments at the wrong time. They will also react to media coverage, which may dramatize the seriousness of an economic event but the news can change by the next day and the emotional fear shouldn’t rule their decision making.

The most important priority for those planning financially for their future is to see their plan through to completion — that’s as important as starting a plan, he said.

“Only 10 to 20 percent of all people will retire comfortably,” he said.  “And only 14 percent of workers are comfortable that they can retire comfortably.

jadkins@the-signal.com

661-287-5599

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