Harbor Wealth Management
Elyse Foster founded Harbor in 1988 and provides strategic direction for the firm. In addition, Elyse works with individuals, families, and businesses to create a unique plan for their present and future.
Harbor explores financial planning for life events such as saving for college and retirement, a job change, business sale or inheritance. The firm assists in minimizing taxes and passing wealth to the next generation. Elyse and her team believe a good plan incorporates risk management, including a review of casualty, life, disability, health, and long-term care insurance. They review and monitor company benefits. They believe in interactive education and bring current topics and education to their clients and professional partners in the form of small group presentations and workshops, outside speakers, book discussions, economic discussions, and articles groups.
Investments play an important role in a successful plan. Elyse and her team's investment models are integrated into the wealth management plan and have high, consistent returns with correspondingly low risk. They have a history of taking profits when the market prices were high throughout market cycles in 1999-2000, and 2007-2008 and have success in re-entering markets in 1987, 2001 and 2009. They identify and implement opportunistic strategies to capitalize on opportunities created in turbulent times. In addition to a market-tested process for core investment selection, they have positioned their firm to take advantage of private equity and debt investment opportunities offering access to institutional offerings with historical relationships cultivated during our long history. Real estate is a specialty however they have a long history and experience in a broad range of alternative investments.
Prior to founding Harbor, Elyse was an investment banker, Director of Operations for a planning firm and a staff accountant. She earned her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado-Boulder and has held the CFP designation since 1984. She is a member of NAPFA.
Elyse enjoys an active Colorado lifestyle year round as well as photography, dance, and travel. Community involvement is also important to Elyse. She is the former Chair of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and is a board member for the Burridge Center for Finance at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her work on the board was instrumental in bringing the CFP curriculum to the university. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends.
BA, Political Science, University of Colorado -Boulder
Assets Under Management:
Your time frame is fairly short, it is best to consider your guaranteed interest options so as not to risk the house downpayment funds.
A search of current online bank rates indicates that you could get 1.65% per year on savings and 2% for a 6 month CD, 2.3% for a 12 month CD. Checking with your local bank or credit union is a good idea as well, they may offer a special savings rate that would be higher than what is available with the online banks.
First, some homework is in order. Refer to or if you do not have one prepare a simple net worth statement which will assist in guiding you to what other assets you might have to provide for your support. Then determine how much income you need to support yourself monthly and annually. Next, explore your personal risk tolerance, there are online calculators to assist in this process.
Once you have these questions answered begin putting together a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and cash. Your portfolio should include U.S. as well as foreign stocks and bonds. Some of the investments will produce dividends to assist with your cash flow/income others will be growth oriented to provide for your future. If you own your home this might meet your real estate investment category, if not you might consider adding a REIT (real estate investment trust) to provide a hedge against inflation. Consider investing in sections over a period of months to smooth price movements in this current volatile market.
If all of this seems to be more than you are ready to manage and monitor, you might consider a target date fund for some of your investment assets. Vanguard, Schwab and TD Ameritrade all have target date options. These investment vehicles put the allocation of stocks and bonds together for you.
Last, you have the assets to consider hiring a professional to assist you with the planning and investment management. The fees you pay should come back to you in a steady return, education, and peace of mind.
Look for a fee-only fiduciary, preferably a CFP (Certified Financial Planner). NAPFA has lists of qualified professionals in your area.
Best of luck!
You are wise to look at your entire financial picture when considering this kind of decision. I think the removal of the qualified (IRA and 401k) funds should be your last resort. The early withdrawal penalty along with the income tax you will owe on the amount you withdraw makes this a very unattractive solution.
You did not say if you owned a home, if you do consider setting up a HELOC or home equity line of credit which should carry a lower interest rate. You borrow against your home and pay down all of the credit card balances and lines of credit. You can also spread out the payment time to make the monthly amount easier on your cash flow.
If this is not an option you can look into borrowing from your 401k, your employer can assist with the amount you can borrow and what the process entails.
Do you have a plan for the payment of the debt? Are you paying the highest interest rate debt first? Getting rid of the highest interest debt 100% then moving on to the next highest can save you interest over time and speed the full payment process.
Last, you mention that you are using all of your extra income to pay down the debt, perhaps freeing up a bit of your cash flow to allow for extra items you enjoy will assist with the patience necessary to wait out the time it will take to be debt free.
You are facing one of the most difficult decisions for an investor. First, assure yourself that if you invest, this can and will happen. You are questioning how to proceed which is your logical next step.
In order to make a good decision, you need to reevaluate the stock. What are the company's prospects? Review market share, new products, competitor performance, all of the statistics on free cash flow, management, etc. If you think the company might turn around in future, you can still sell the shares and lock in the loss. Then re-buy the shares 31 days later. If you don't want to be 'out the market' in this category for the 31 days, you can employ a strategy of buying an index fund that covers this exposure for you. Once you are ready to re-buy your shares, sell the index.
If you think the stock has poor prospects and your company research supports this, simply sell the stock and take the loss. Given the underperformance timeframe, in my experience, this is the most likely outcome.
You are wise to ask this question and to be thinking about your future. I have a few absolutes that have served me well and also many young clients of our firm.
- Develop a plan and modify it periodically, reaching goals is rewarding and will encourage you to stick with your plan.
- Pay yourself first. You are worth it! A target of 10% of your gross income to begin is a good goal.
- Know yourself. Will you take the time to learn about investing and develop a plan? If not, seek advice.
- Take the time to enjoy your money and successes. Don't hesitate to travel, donate, and invest in yourself along the way. Planning and investing is a lifelong pursuit, not a sprint.