Newsletter Highlights


:: Students: Optimize Your Winter Break ::

Winter break is quickly approaching. Before you settle in to binge-watch all the television you’ve missed this fall, pencil in some time to get a head start on the collegegoing process. Get the most out of your break by completing a few simple tasks.

Finish out the year by completing these tasks and setting yourself on the right path to begin 2019. Then you can spend the rest of your winter break deciding on New Year’s resolutions, spending time with friends… and you can get back to binge-watching your favorite shows.



:: Winter Pet Safety ::

Below are tips to help you avoid costly vet bills due to pet illness or injury. Having pet insurance can also help cover vet costs if something does happen anytime of year.



:: Oklahoma’s College Planning Portal ::

OKcollegestart.org is Oklahoma’s official website for college planning provided by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) and the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP). This free, comprehensive site provides a one-stop shop for students, parents, adult learners and educators. It features information and tools that can help make planning and paying for college easier for students and their families. Students can create a lifelong portfolio for college and career planning that contains secure records of academic progress, activities and achievements throughout high school. Educators can customize the site for their students, including Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP) tools. OKcollegestart features include:

Students

Parents

Adult Learners

Educators

To create a free student account, visit OKcollegestart.org. To participate in the Professional Center, educators must first contact OKcollegestart at 405.234.4383, 866.433.7420 or OKcollegestart@ocap.org.



:: Q&A: Investing 101 ::

Denise Lant, Certified Financial Planner (CFP) for Regent Financial Services, talks to OKMM about the basics of investing.

How does investing fit into a healthy financial plan?

The potential investor would need to define if his or her goals are for the short-term such as saving for a house, or long-term goals, like saving for retirement. Investing is ideally a longterm strategy where someone is trying to make his or her money work for them. The money invested will grow with the help of compounding interest.

When does a potential investor know when he or she is financially ready to begin investing?

A potential investor is ready to begin investing when he or she has a three to six month emergency fund in place, has insurance protection appropriate for the investor and his or her family (health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and property casualty on his or her home and car), has an estate plan in place, and understands his or her tax responsibilities. The only time I would recommend investing ahead of having these bases covered, is when a retirement plan is offered through an employer—especially when there are employer match options available.

What is the difference between stocks, bonds and cash alternative accounts?

Cash alternatives, such as savings accounts, CD’s, and annuities are all loans to investment-type facilities like a bank, credit union or insurance company. Bonds are typically loans to corporations or the government in the form of government, municipal, corporate or high-yield options. While cash alternative accounts and bonds are all loans, stocks are ownership in a company. There are also other asset classes and types of investments such as real estate or collectibles such as art, guns and coins.

What does “diversifying your investments” mean?

Much like the adage of ‘not having all of your eggs in one basket’, the theory is that if you drop the basket you break all the eggs. In investing, you have your money spread around so if one “basket” drops, the other baskets typically stay intact. To further diversify, the investor may consider stocks in different kinds of companies based on company size, industry specialty and geographic location.

How does a potential investor determine their investing strategy or style?

When potential investors are determining their investing strategy, what they’re really trying to determine is their tolerance for risk. The more risk an investor is willing to take, the more potential there is for reward on the investment. However, there will be times when the investment sees a loss in value. The investors would need to answer questions for themselves as to how much risk they’re willing to take. At what point would the investors begin losing sleep at night worrying about their investments?

How does an investing strategy need to change over time as investors near retirement or as the economy changes?

Typically, an investment strategy changes as the time-frame changes. How far in the future does the investor need to access the investment? If the investment can go untouched for 30 years, the investor will be able to tolerate risk better than if the investment needed to be accessed in five years.

What is the role of a financial adviser and how does an investor know if or when he or she needs one?

Everyone could benefit from a financial adviser at some point in life. Specifically, a certified financial planner is someone who can help others meet their goals, establish realistic goals and monitor their progress toward those goals. For resources to assist you when shopping for a financial planner, visit Financial Planning Association’s planner search and/ or visit Certified Financial Planner Professional’s Let’s Make a Plan websites.



:: Holiday Gifts Students Really Want ::

Sometimes it can be difficult to shop for college students. No matter if the student attends as a freshman or is in graduate school; is close to home or commutes; is a traditional student or a returning adult trying to finish their degree—here are some gifts any student can appreciate.