March 2021 Issue — Life in Order Special Section
by Marc Stuckart and Creighton Stuckart
What are your financial goals? This is the first thing any financial planner should know about you. Many may think everyone’s goal is to make the most money possible, but surprisingly it’s not. People have different priorities in how they want their assets protected and their nest egg to grow. Some want to ensure they can have the same lifestyle in retirement as they did during their working years. Some want to see their assets create a legacy and last for generations to come. Others want to ensure their grandchildren have higher education opportunities. And then there are those—lots of those—who just don’t want to lose any money. Everyone’s situation is different, and a financial planner who listens, understands the difference, and plans accordingly.
Assets, such as a home, investment accounts, retirement savings, real estate, cash-on-hand, income, residual income, fine art, or jewelry, are supposed to make life better, but it doesn’t always work that way. This is another area where a financial planner who listens can make all the difference in the world.
People tend to run many “What If” scenarios through their minds, which usually leans more negative than positive, creating constant worry. Very seldom is the “what if” about getting an unexpected raise, inheriting money from a long lost relative or winning the lottery. Most “what ifs” tend to be more like: What if the market crashes? What if I die soon? What if I lose my job? What if I sell a stock right before it splits? While a financial planner cannot keep these worrisome “what ifs” from happening, they can definitely help plan for them and offer peace of mind.
Whether you currently have a financial planner, think you don’t have enough money to have a financial planner, or think you can do better without a financial planner, here are a few things to consider when planning your financial future:
Are you maximizing the return on your investments?
If you are not in the market every day, it is difficult to know if you are maximizing your funds (or not) without some expert financial guidance. A financial planner, who not only has experience, but also the tools to intricately know the market, will better understand what needs to happen and when, thus giving you clarity into your finances you may otherwise leave to chance. Look for a financial team with advanced market data and resources that will provide a personal and straightforward approach to your investing needs.
Are you actively managing your investments on a regular basis?
Life is a juggling act. Sometimes just getting to that first meeting of the day on time is a challenge. Mix that with the stress of the rest of the day, a pandemic, some squeaky brakes, and your day is done. Who has hours each day to manage their investments? Financial planners do! And that’s why do-it-yourselfers are normally worn out by the time they finally seek professional help. Financial planners have seen and heard it all and enjoy the challenge of creating a well-conceived plan to fit each client’s needs.
Do you know what’s inside your mutual fund?
Before investing in a mutual fund, it is best to know what the fund is made of. Is it balanced? Does it consist of rock-solid companies? Are too many companies in it, which may make the value fall? How risky is it? Unless you study the market like it’s your job, chances are you won’t even know where to look for this kind of information. Knowing and understanding the ins and outs of this information is where the difference between achieving objectives or falling short can happen. Be sure to choose an advisor who has access to many products, advanced product knowledge and can personalize a plan just for you.
Do you know your level of Risk?
Did you know human beings are twice as concerned about avoiding losses than they are about achieving potential gains? This is one of the reasons humans tend to sabotage their own investing. A good financial planner will help you analyze your risks, and not the old-fashioned way by stereotyping based on age. Atlantic Investment Advisory Group has a quantitative way to determine each client’s risk number. The number is then used to set expectations for client portfolios and personalize the strategy to get there. Results are then analyzed on a rolling six-month basis to balance it, stay in line with, or take the steps necessary to reach each client’s long-term goals.
Some people find a financial planner when they are young, even if they haven’t built a large nest egg yet, and others don’t start until they feel they have outgrown their current strategy. The first important thing is to just start, no matter where you may be on the road to your financial future. The next important part is to take a knowledgeable and professional financial planner along as your guide. It will make for a much more enjoyable ride to get you exactly where you want to be.
B. Marc Stuckart Jr, CPFA, Financial Advisor and Managing Partner earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, and then commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He attained the rank of Captain before retiring in 1984 to begin his civilian career in the financial services industry with Robinson Humphrey on Hilton Head Island in 1991. Marc served in managerial positions with A.G. Edwards & Sons, UBS, and Merrill Lynch before founding Atlantic Investment Advisory Group in 2020. With more than three decades of financial industry experience, Marc has a clear understanding of how global economic events and changing markets can affect portfolio outcomes. He feels a financial advisor should be someone who knows you and understands what you hope to accomplish with your wealth. An empathetic listener, Marc is an expert in translating complex issues into easy-to-understand language.
W. Creighton Stuckart, CFP ®, Financial Advisor and Managing Partner graduated from The Citadel in 2009 and was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. Serving for seven years, Creighton was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and spent three years in a recruit training capacity aboard Parris Island, SC. Creighton started in the financial services industry in 2016. In 2020 Creighton became a co-founder of Atlantic Investment Advisory Group with his father, Marc. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ Practitioner, Creighton works closely with his clients to define their goals, as well as providing a “flight plan” for pursuing those goals. For retirees and near-retirees he focuses on replacing income in their retirement years and preparing the legacy they want to leave to their families. For younger clients, Creighton focuses on long term savings for retirement and education planning.