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AFL expert advises: Don’t live ‘up to your means’

We need to stop living “up to our means” and buying the house, car and other material things that we think we can afford.

This is the advice from Cindy Campbell, chief operating officer of AFL Investments, a joint venture between the Argus Group and Cidel Bank & Trust.

The financial services company is planning to host a series of seminars next month to help people cope with continuing economic uncertainty.

After a brutal August for global markets, and the ongoing debt crisis in Europe weighing on markets, Bermudians have also been seeing their local company dividends dry up and housing prices plunge.

AFL’s “The Economy and You: A Financial Faceoff” will be three lunchtime sessions aimed at women, men and then couples.

All of the seminars will be free and open to the public.

“There is no doubt that the current economic climate brings complexities in terms of both managing your personal finances and investing,” Ms. Campbell said.

“We have designed this seminar series to equip individuals, whatever their circumstances, with the necessary knowledge and strategies to face up to the economy and tackle the challenges it presents head on. We want to help people who might be feeling overwhelmed to grow in confidence and actively improve their financial situation.”

Ms Campbell said in order for people to survive the tough economy they need to start living below their means, and save.

She pointed to the “power of compounding” as a tool in growing your savings or wealth.

According to an AFL Investments tool:

A 25-year-old who saves $100 a month will end up with almost $120,000 at age 65, at a four percent assumed rate of return, and almost half a million dollars at nine percent assumed rate of return, and compounded monthly.

If that 25-year-old was able to save $500 a month, they would end up with nearly $600,000 at the four percent rate of return and $2.3 million at the nine percent rate of return.

If you are in your mid-40s it is not too late, she said.

The tool shows that a 45-year-old saving $500 a month can save nearly $200,000 by age 65 at the four percent assumed rate of return and $336,000 at the nine percent rate of return.

The tool also shows you how much you would earn if you bought, say, a cheaper car and saved the difference, or socked away money you might have spent on a vacation.

Ten-thousand invested by a 40-year-old and compounded monthly will grow to about $30,000 at the four percent assumed rate of return by age 65, or almost $100,000, at the nine percent rate of return.

The first session on October 11 is designed for women. Ms Campbell said men and woman have very different approaches to investing, which is why AFL decided to divide up the sessions.

The “Women and Wealth” seminar will address the implications of current market conditions for a woman’s wallet, how to build a net worth, investment strategy makeovers and shopping for investments to suit individual needs.

The guest speaker, joining AFL senior wealth manager Carla Seely, will be Sheila Nicoll, senior vice-president, operations for Sirius International.

The second seminar, “Men and Money,” will take place on October 12 and is tailored for men who want to gain an insight into effective ways to evaluate and protect their portfolios in the current economic climate. This session will start by exploring the wider economic context and then go into topics such as how to beat the cash flow crunch, bench pressing the benchmark and creating the MVP, Most Valuable Portfolio.

Joining AFL lead wealth manager Kevin Grant is guest speaker Matt Maldoff, an analyst for the Cidel Ascent Relative Value Fund.

The final event on October 13 is for couples who want to protect their family’s financial future.

Against the backdrop of a continued recession, “Couples and Capital” will look at the impact of the prevailing financial climate for partners. Attendees will learn about how to successfully consolidate their finances with their partner as well as recommended capital preservation strategies.

Trott & Duncan Trust and Estates Attorney Rajah Abusrewil will join Ms Seely as the guest speaker for this session.

Miss Abusrewil specialises in offering advice on the most appropriate ways to structure and protect estates.

AFL does offer a free financial planning consultation, after that its services are fee based.

Each seminar will take place between 12 noon and 1pm and a light lunch will be provided. The series will be held in the Argus Training Centre in the new Argus Building on Wesley Street. As space is limited, any interested individuals should register by e-mailing rsvp[AT]aflinvestments.bm or calling 294-5715 by October 7.

AFL COO Cindy Campbell

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Published September 21, 2011 at 10:20 am (Updated September 21, 2011 at 10:20 am)

AFL expert advises: Don’t live ‘up to your means’

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