Red River Advisors LLC
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
As CEO of Red River Advisors, Tracy Ann Miller uses her considerable investment experience to guide investors to wealth and carefree retirement. After many years of banking, life insurance and investment management with Marine Midland Bank, InterSecurities, John Hancock and Merrill Lynch, Tracy Ann spent over a decade with Charles Schwab before co-founding Portfolio Wealth Advisors. Tracy Ann's goal is to bring a fresh way to assist people in wealth growth and financial security and make the complexities of the investment market understandable. A few minutes with Tracy Ann and you know you are in capable hands. A few years with her, and you know you will live your life the way you have always dreamed.
BA, Political Science - Pre Law, University of Oklahoma
Assets Under Management:
The simple answer is YES; there is more you can be doing for retirement. Actually there is more you can be doing for life! You are a graduate and working at a good job with a very nice salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Americans age 25-34 in 2017, the mean salary is $758 per week, $39,416 per year.
You are already taking care of participating in the company retirement plan. Keep doing that. Next, put the maximum amount you are eligible for into a Roth IRA and keep that account invested in a growth strategy. The Roth IRA has the best tax advantage and you have 35 years to make growth investments a terrific option to give you a tax-free pool of funds to use in retirement.
Lastly, do not underestimate the power of an Individual Brokerage account for savings above the Simple IRA and the Roth IRA. It is important to diversify the types of savings one has so that you are building up a pool of capital to use when an emergency or opportunity arises. In other words, do not make the mistake of having all of your savings in restrictive retirement plans. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. With your age, education and pursuit of even higher education it is a good bet that you will find it meaningful to have access to capital. Having capital gives you options and flexibility. Make that capital work for you too. Banks are okay for general living needs, but any excess needs to be invested. An individual brokerage account allows you to invest in a well diversified stock and bond allocation plan for risk management and liquidity so that you have your money working for you until that moment you need to access it.
Once invested you get the added advantage of seeing the annual growth of your capital and that gives you an excellent gage on whether a potential opportunity is worth the risk in the future. For example, if you have created a capital pool and ten years from now you get an opportunity to invest in a business, real estate or some kind of situation where you are expecting a return on your capital -- you will be able to ask yourself "for the risk involved in this venture, is my expected return better than what my stock and bond portfolio has returned?" It's a great way to be objective.
Remember to enjoy life in the meantime. The pursuit of capital by itself does not lead to as rewarding of a life as one might think. You should have a disciplined savings and investing plan, but it also pays to enjoy the fruit of your labor.
If you are planning to have your money in savings over a long period -- definitely invest it! Mutual funds are a good way to do that. Rule of thumb is to keep enough money in a money market type of savings plan to cover two to three months of living expenses should you lose your job unexpectedly. The reason? You won't want to sell your mutual funds for living expenses if the market just went into a downturn as you should have savings money to see you through that. The alternative is to buy a short term bond mutual fund with the money set aside for living expenses and buy a diversified set of growth funds with the rest. Remember, saving money is only half the equation. It is imperative to invest to keep up with longer term inflation and taxes.
As a fee only advisor, what I have found is that fees range from .5 to as much as 2.0 percent of the amount managed. If you are truly receiving full financial planning the fee will typically be around 1.0 to 1.5 percent. If you find a firm that puts your money into a model or 'robo' type of account and does not provide much in the way of overall financial, retirement, income and risk management advice, you should pay less.
The online brokerages are all pretty good and tend to leave you alone as opposed to selling you a product. TD Ameritrade has a great platform and plenty of commission free mutual funds to choose from. One thing I advise is to stay away from banks. They typically try to sell products versus having a good independant platform to work from. I would also recommend that since you are wise in starting early you also become wise in investing with an approach that gives you a higher degree of certainty to achieve a goal. Your first investment should be a well chosen and well diversified balanced mutual fund. With $1,200 you won't have enough to diversify with stocks and your choices will be somewhat limited with mutual funds. Go to Vanguard or Fidelity to do some research. Also try Yahoo Finance to find some appropriate funds. Search for a "balanced" fund or "balanced index" fund for a great long term investment. No matter how your first investment pans out remember this: ALWAYS be an investor!
The best rule of thumb is to read the contract thoroughly and make sure it says this clearly to you. If it does not say it in language you understand, then ask the person creating the contract to add a paragraph of your own that clearly states the objective in words you do understand. They should have no problem adding a paragraph written by you stating the ultimate objective if the contract already makes the same confirmation in other language.