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A financial planning primer for new investors

Woman sitting on a couch opening a box.
Woman sitting on a couch opening a box.

If you are new to the idea of investing or financial planning, you don’t need a large sum to start growing your money. There are a few simple planning tips and risk-minimizing strategies that can help you steadily build your financial future no matter what stage of life you are in.

  1. Start small – Many offers may promise to make you rich quick, but it’s probably a better idea to start simple—like with a savings account that has a good Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Try to get in the habit of adding whatever amount you can manage on a regular basis. Maybe that means just $10 per month to start, until you get comfortable and can add more. Before you even begin investing, do your homework, set your goals and set a budget. This way you know exactly what you can afford to spend, what your risk tolerance will be, and how much you would like to save long term.

  2. Employer options – If your employer offers a retirement plan like a 401(k) or something similar, that can also be a great way to boost your retirement savings. Contributing a small percentage of your income—typically between 1% and 5%—can add up quickly, and many employers offer a matching contribution, that adds to your savings. Since 401(k) accounts pull a portion of your salary before it reaches your paycheck, these accounts are a great way to set an investment plan and forget it. 

  3. Other options – The Roth IRA is often a solid path for retirement savings, and may be an alternative if you do not have a 401(k) plan offered through your employer. Taxes are paid up front on any contributions into such an account, but all future withdrawals are tax free. That means you can access your contributions any time, without taxes or penalties if certain criteria are met. There are contribution limits and income restrictions that come with Roth IRAs, so be sure to get familiar with all of the rules before opening such an account.

  4. Stay the course – The stock market is full of ups and downs. Short-term losses or gains do not necessarily have an impact on the long-term health of your investment portfolio. Don’t overreact to short-term changes, or get bogged down with constant buying and selling stocks. Make sure you set long-term goals and stay patient through any short-term changes. Your long-term stability depends on a well-structured foundation of secure investments.

It all starts with education. Educating yourself about the market, investment strategies and wealth management is key to your financial health. Addison Avenue Investment Services—the investment division of First Tech—can help you explore your options, including retirement planning and implementation, life insurance reviews, employment transitions, financial planning, tax liability minimization, estate planning, and options to successfully navigate life’s transitional moments.

To learn more about what the Financial Advisors at Addison Avenue can offer, schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation here, or visit

For specific tax advice, please consult a tax professional.

Registered address: 1011 Sunset Blvd, Rocklin, CA 95765 │ 855.744.8585

Financial Advisors offer securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC and securities are not insured by credit union insurance, the NCUA or any other government agency, are not deposits or obligations of the credit union, are not guaranteed by the credit union, and are subject to risks, including the possible loss of principal. First Tech Federal Credit Union and Addison Avenue Investment Services are not registered broker/dealers and are independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.

Matching contributions from your employer may be subject to a vesting schedule. Please consult with your Financial Advisor for more information.

Like Traditional IRAs, contribution limits apply to Roth IRAs. In addition, with a Roth IRA, your allowable contribution may be reduced or eliminated if your annual income exceeds certain limits. Contributions to a Roth IRA are never tax deductible, but if certain conditions are met, distributions will be completely income tax free.

401(k) plans are long-term retirement savings vehicles. Withdrawal of pre-tax contributions and/or earnings will be subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty.

While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax matters. You should discuss tax matters with the appropriate professional.