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Pick Your Investment Based on When You Need the Money

Mark Nicolet, CFP®, MBA, ABFP™
March 6, 2018
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Recent market volatility and nervousness of investors seems to make this a good time to re-evaluate our current time frames and allocations for our investment accounts. One of the most important reasons is that our time frames and risk tolerance often clarify and determine the type of investment and allocation we should consider for our money.

Let’s agree that we might feel the market is efficient over a long period of time. With this kind of long-term perspective, should this recent volatility send us into a panic when evaluating our 401k and Roth IRA; investment accounts that possibly will be utilized 10, 15, or even 25 years from now? I anticipate you can come to my same conclusion…no. Let’s take this idea one step further. I would argue that panic should not be the response, but an excitement to save more, invest more, and watch our money possibly work more efficiently for us than if it was sitting in a safe, under the mattress, or at the bank. Market volatility and “correction” is healthy for long-term investors.

Now, I just alluded to two long-term retirement accounts. What if we have a 12-month goal to renovate the kitchen? That is a different time frame. That would result in a different level of risk. In fact, oftentimes, if the assets invested are to be purposed for a capital expense within the next twelve to twenty-four months, I then recommend holding on to cash and savings. The risks and costs of investing might be too high for our level of comfort for that short of a time-frame. Then, when we know the basement is set to be finished, the birth of a child is coming, or a rental property down payment are in sight, then we may want additional funds in the bank outside of our traditional three to six months of savings, especially if the time frame is tight.

And finally, what if we have additional cash that we don’t have a specific priority in mind for, and we have a comfortable amount in our bank savings, and we don’t want to wrap additional money into a retirement account and then not have access to it until after age 59 ½? This idea, this solution, is often unknown to investors. We are taught that we need to save into retirement accounts and make sure we have three to six months of emergency savings…but that’s not all we should consider. A non-retirement investment account helps us be more efficient with our excess cash or monthly cash flow, yet these invested assets are still accessible within 2-7 business days. In the 5, 10, or even 20 years until retirement, do we anticipate having a few non-retirement priorities? I’m confident the answer is “yes” for just about everyone. Or, maybe we run into a few unexpected things, too. Let me name a few examples…anniversary trip, home remodel, broken furnace, family vacation, new car, next down payment, adoption, or caring for our parents. Until we have a time frame, let’s believe in the market, invest our money in an efficient, cost-efficient, diversified portfolio, set to our level of risk and based on our anticipated time frame.

When a priority shows up, or even a BIG emergency, if we have been saving all along, it might make us better prepared. Just like a 401k, we can establish this type of investment account, determine a monthly contribution amount, and we can save and invest on a monthly basis. This could be incredibly impactful, because if we stick to the alternative of trying to over-save into our bank savings account, what might happen? Just prior to the end of the month, we might be too tempted to “slide to transfer” our “extra” funds right back into our bank checking. By establishing this additional, more efficient savings vehicle, funds that are earmarked for a future priority, outside of two years from now, will help us to be better prepared when that priority shows up, AND, hopefully having a stronger earning potential than what is available as interest at the bank.

This last example addresses an intermediate level of planning that tends to get lost in the emergency savings/retirement planning conversation. One consideration, please be aware that since these funds may not be in tax-deferred type of accounts, there may be various kinds of taxation on the growth and trading of holdings within these accounts. You would need to discuss taxation with your tax professional. Short- and long-term capital gains taxes are to be considered. But again, one of the biggest benefits of this type of account is that these funds tend to be more readily accessible. The flexibility of these types of non-retirement investment accounts are considered to be incredibly instrumental.

To summarize, if you are funding your 401k, and you have an adequate level of savings in the bank, and still have additional cash flow that could be used for future priorities, then I encourage you to establish an individual or joint non-retirement investment account for those exact goals. But first, please schedule time to meet with a Certified Financial Planner to help craft a strategy for your financial plan. He/she will help you better understand your time frames, your priorities, which will then determine your allocation, your level of risk, your investment, and the titling of the accounts.

So, despite the market volatility, the encouragement is the same: spend less, save more, start today.

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David McDonough
May 13, 2022

Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing, and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you're driving to work, you see smoke coming from under your hood. Bad things happen to the best of us, and sometimes it seems like they come in waves. That's when an emergency cash fund can come in handy. One survey found that nearly 25% of Americans have no emergency savings. Another survey found that 40% of Americans said they wouldn't be able to comfortably handle an unexpected $1,000 expense.1,2

How Much Money?

How large should an emergency fund be? There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. The ideal amount may depend on your financial situation and lifestyle. For example, if you own a home or have dependents, you may be more likely to face financial emergencies. And if a job loss affects your income, you may need emergency funds for months.

Coming Up with Cash

If saving several months of income seems unreasonable, don't despair. Start with a more modest goal, such as saving $1,000, and build your savings a bit at a time. Consider setting up automatic monthly transfers into the fund. Once your savings begin to build, you may be tempted to use the money in the account for something other than an emergency. Try to avoid that. Instead, budget and prepare separately for bigger expenses you know are coming.

Where Do I Put It?

Many people open traditional savings accounts to hold emergency funds. They typically offer modest rates of return. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures bank accounts for up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution, in principal and interest.3 Others turn to money market accounts or money market funds in emergencies. While money market accounts are savings accounts, money market funds are considered low-risk securities. Money market funds are not backed by any government institution, which means they can lose money. Depending on your particular goals and the amount you have saved, some combination of lower-risk investments may be your best choice.

Money held in money market funds is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. Money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 a share. However, it is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund.4

Money market mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the charges, risks, expenses, and investment objectives carefully before investing. A prospectus containing this and other information about the investment company can be obtained from your financial professional. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

The only thing you can know about unexpected expenses is that they're coming. Having an emergency fund may help to alleviate stress and worry that can come with them. If you lack emergency savings now, consider taking steps to create a cushion for the future.



Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

  1., 2020
  2., 2021
  3., 2022
  4., 2021


By Trilogy Financial
August 1, 2023

A romance scam, also known as an online dating scam, is when a person gets tricked into believing they’re in a romantic relationship with someone they met online, when in fact their other half is a cybercriminal using a fake identity to gain enough trust to ask — or blackmail — them for money.

Oftentimes, a romance scammer starts on dating sites or apps. But scammers have increasingly started finding targets on social media, too.

After connecting with someone through a fake profile, the scammer will strike up a conversation and start building a relationship by regularly chatting with them. Once they start to trust the romance scammer and believe they have a truthful relationship, the cybercriminal will make up a story, ask them for money, and vanish.

Types of Romance Scams

Some of the most common internet dating scams include:       

Fake Dating Sites: Scam dating sites claim to be legitimate but are actually filled with scammers or underpopulated. These websites are created to mine your information.

Photo Scams: Scammers will convince their target to send their personal information in exchange for intimate photos.

Military Romance Scams: The scammer will pose as a military member, likely deployed. They build trust by using military jargon and titles, then ask for money to cover military-related expenses, such as flights home.

Intimate Activity Scams: The scammer connects with their target on multiple social media websites. Once they become closer, the scammer convinces them to undress and then threatens them with the recordings.

Code Verification Scams: Scammers will send a fake verification code through email or text, posing to be a dating app or website. Once clicked on, it will ask for their personal information, including Social Security number and credit cards.

Inheritance Scams: Scammers will make their target believe they need to get married in order to get their inheritance. In this case, they will ask them to help pay for something like airfare.

Malware Scams: Malware is also common on dating sites. In this case, the recipient will interact with a scammer who sends them a website that looks legitimate; however, it's a page that includes malware.

Tips To Avoid Losing Money To a Romance Scam

  • Protect yourself and older loved ones by raising awareness. Although this can be an uncomfortable topic, make sure you, your family and your friends are familiar with romance scams. The more you know about these scams, the better prepared you are to prevent being a victim.
  • Check in on older loved ones. Scammers are seeking to target those living alone or grieving the loss of a spouse as they are more vulnerable.
  • Limit what you share online.Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
  • Do your research.Research the individual’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name or other details have been used elsewhere.
  • Go slowly and ask lots of questions.Don’t let the individual rush you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
  • Listen to your gut.If the individual seems too good to be true, talk to someone you trust.
  • Don’t overshare personal information.Requests for inappropriate photos or financial information could later be used to extort you.
  • Be suspicious if you haven’t met in person.If the individual promises to meet in person, but consistently comes up with an excuse for cancelling, be suspicious.
  • Don’t send money.Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.

Think you’ve been scammed?

  1. Stop communicating with the individual immediately.
  2. Talk to someone you trust and describe what’s going on.
  3. Report the incident to local law enforcement.
  4. Submit a fraud complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Dating scams can have devastating consequences on individuals seeking love and companionship online. It's crucial to be aware of the red flags and take necessary precautions to protect yourself from falling victim to these fraudulent schemes. Even if it’s too late to recoup losses, details may help others from becoming a victim.


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