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Financial Answer Center

Basic Principles of Investing

Fund Your Retirement Plans First

Make sure you are investing in your retirement plans first, after your liquidity needs are met. Other investments should come after that. Your financial future is important and saving for retirement should be your primary focus. In addition, there are tax benefits associated with retirement plans that are not available elsewhere.

Retirement First

Step 1: Make sure you are sufficiently funding retirement plans that have tax advantages associated with them such as 401(k) plans, deductible IRAs and Roth IRAs, Keoghs, and SEPs.

If you have any money left over, go to Step 2.

Step 2: Start funding other investments.

Why Retirement Plans Should Be Your Priority

Retirement Plans*

Other investment accounts

The investments you make toward most retirement plans are tax deductible.**

The money you put in other investments is not tax deductible.

The interest and gains earned in most retirement plans are not taxed until you make a withdrawal.**

The income earned on your other investments is normally taxed currently.

Having your financial future funded gives you confidence.

If you are funding other investments rather than your retirement plans, you are giving up tax benefits.

* 401(k)s, IRAs depending on your adjusted gross income and participation in business retirement plans, Spouse's 401(k) plans, Keoghs, etc.

** Contributions to a Roth IRA, Roth 401(k) and Roth 403(b) are not tax-deductible; however, qualified withdrawals are tax-free. IRAs can be non-deductible, depending on adjusted gross income and participation in a business retirement plan. Earnings on the non-deductible contributions are taxable when withdrawn.

How Much Money Do You Need to Start Investing?

Some mutual funds will let you open an account with as little as $100. You can start very small. If you want to build a diversified portfolio, you will want to put money into a number of different funds. You can also choose a balanced fund/hybrid fund, discussed later in this guide, if you are starting with a small amount.

Don't Agonize... Get Active

The purpose of this Learning Center is to help educate you and try to eliminate the confusing nature of investing. We're going to talk about the choices out there and what they mean for you. But our main goal is to get you started on the road to investing wisely.

Take some time to explore this Investing and Investments section. When you've done so, you will:

  • be able to choose investment vehicles that will meet your liquidity needs;
  • understand your own tolerance for financial risk;
  • understand essential investment terms, such as asset allocation and dollar-cost averaging;
  • understand the investment advantages and disadvantages of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, variable annuities and fixed annuities
  • be able to distinguish among the different types of mutual funds;
  • be able to decide whether or not real estate is a good investment for you;
  • understand the tax implications of different investment vehicles.
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Securities and insurance products are offered through Osaic Institutions, INC., Member FINRA/SIPC. Osaic Institutions, INC. and FB Wealth Management, a division of First Bank, are not affiliated. We do not provide tax advice. Consult your tax advisor. NOT Bank Deposits NOT FDIC-Insured HAVE NO Bank Guarantee NOT Insured by any Federal Government Agency May Go Down in Value