As the founder of ePERSONAL FINANCIAL, Eric helps his clients take control of their finances through technology and advice. Eric has always been interested in the financial world, and over the past 28 years, he has been involved in every facet of wealth management. This includes, retirement, family business succession, and insurance planning.
Unlike traditional firms, Eric and his team have transformed wealth management into a solution that is truly built with their clients in mind. No longer do clients have to meet with a suit-clad advisor in a stuffy office. Instead, they can take control of their financial future, monitor their investments, and harness current technology in the comfort of their own home.
Eric graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Business Administration with specializations in Accounting and Finance. In addition, he holds his Accredited Investment Fiduciary® and Certified Exit Planning® designations. Eric has a thirst for continuing education and holding himself to a high standard of ethics.
Throughout his career, Eric has managed to find balance among his professional and personal life. Eric enjoys spending time with his life partner, Sherrie, and being a father to his young adult daughters, Kayla and Brooke. As a Washington native, Eric takes every opportunity to get outside. He is an avid cyclist, has taken up stand up paddle boarding, and enjoys snow skiing and training his Australian Labradoodle puppy, Blake.
BA, Business Administration, Washington State University
Eric Flaten is an advisor representative of Sowell Management Services, which does business as ePERSONAL FINANCIAL, LLC. Eric is also the founder of ePERSONAL FINANCIAL, LLC, a separate legal entity. Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor.
Thank you for your question. It looks like you could use some guidance on how to build a portfolio before you invest your hard-earned money. My philosophy is that the best result for investors is when they focus on understanding their own tolerance for risk first. Then build a diversified portfolio that perfectly matches their own risk tolerance. Review your progress towards your goals. This creates a perfectly matched portfolio to their Risk Number and a systematic way to measure your progress and adjust along the way. This can be accomplished in three easy steps:
First, capture Your Risk Number. The first step is to answer a 5-minute questionnaire that covers topics such as portfolio size, top financial goals, and what you’re willing to risk for potential gains. This will pinpoint your exact Risk Number to guide the decision-making process.
Align Your Portfolio. After pinpointing your Risk Number, create a portfolio that aligns with your personal preferences and priorities, allowing you to feel comfortable with your expected outcomes. The resulting proposed portfolio will include projections for the potential gains and losses you should expect over time.
Meet Your Investment Goals. Review your progress toward your financial goals by building an Investment Map. When you finished this process, you’ll fully understand what is possible to increase the probability of success.
Congratulations on being 'actively' involved in your financial future. Since there is no 'right' way of answering your questions, I will instead provide you with known facts and you will be able to choose the best option to meet your goals. First, let's understand what is guaranteed and not guaranteed.
1.99% Truck Loan
Any payment to principal, would be considered a 'guaranteed' savings rate. Why? Because you have a fixed interest rate established in each of the promissory notes to the lender. Any interest savings by paying off the principal early is guaranteed.
4.00-9.00% return from your financial advisor. I would venture that this estimate could be expanded to include a negative number, but this is all dependent on the underlying investments and time horizon. My point is that your actual return on invested money is not guaranteed. This also holds true with your self-directed investing via Scottrade.
INCREASING YOUR CONFIDENCE ON MAKING INVESTMENT DECISIONS:
Now let’s improve your confidence on what to expect from any investment portfolio. There is a tool available that provides you a 95% confidence of range of return for a given investment portfolio over a six-month period. The first steps are to determine your Risk Number and your current portfolios Risk Number. I would suggest that you complete a two-minute exercise by clicking the following link: Find Your RiskNumber. This will provide you with your unique tolerance for market risk (or the volatility in value of your holdings). Additionally, if you enter in the holdings (ticker symbols) of any of your investment accounts, you will be able to determine that portfolios unique Risk Number ranging from (1 - lower risk to 99 - high risk), including bond funds and indexes.
For example, if a given portfolio has a combined Risk Number of 86. Hypothetically, a Risk Number of 86 represents that over the next six months, there is a 95% probability of a return falling between -21.1% - + 32.2%. That's a 50+% range, or in other words, a highly volatile investment holding. If your personal Risk Number was 48, then there would be cause for concern. If your Risk Number was an 84, then you are pretty much on target for meeting expectations.
This exercise is more about affirmation for the investor. This helps you confirm that prior to investing one dollar, you have a 95% chance of what to expect over the next six months. Thank you for your question and time. I hope that you are now better prepared to prioritize your surplus money.
Congratulations on your retirement! Any compensation arrangement that involves the deferral of compensation into a future tax year is now under the Internal Revenue Code Section 409A. Common examples include supplemental executive retirement programs, incentive bonus programs, stock options, stock appreciation rights, and severance agreements.
The only way the company can defer your bonus is if they offer a non-qualified deferred compensation plan (NQDC) or commonly known as a “Top Hat” plan. A company usually establishes an NQDC plan for the following reasons: Recruiting, Retaining and Retirement. This type of plan would allow you to defer income tax for at least five years and then depending on how the plan was designed you, could possibly elect installment distributions over a certain period. These types of features are desirable for highly compensated employees seeking to "smooth tax effect" of lump sum bonuses. When carefully planned up-front, participants can get the most out of their NQDC plan.
First off, what is your investment objective? Income? Growth? Or both? What is your tolerance for volatility over time? Short, mid, and long term? Target rate of return? These are important questions and probably not what you were expecting when you posted your question. These fundamental questions must be answered first to establish your objective and to establish your RiskNumber. The RiskNumber is derived from a 7-15 question exercise that establishes your personal tolerance for market volatility. Once that is known along with your objective, a custom portfolio can be constructed. The investment portfolio will perfectly align with your objective and your comfort level of investment volatility. Aligning expectations of your portfolio volatility, along with your comfort level is often overlooked or misunderstood by investors until it’s too late (i.e. Tech Bubble 2000, Financial Crisis 2008). You have worked too hard for your money and it’s very important that you have a high level of confidence (expectation) in every investment decision you make.
Excellent question! Bonds are the most underreported sectors in the business news today. The volatility in the bond market has been more dramatic than the stock market, but it's barely mentioned. I favor managers that have flexibility to tap a variety of global bond sectors and can tactically shift portfolio weightings, moving to wherever they believe the risk-adjusted yields can be found. This has been true in the past (bull bond market) and in an increasingly complex investment climate (today) by generating a remarkably consistent level of income.