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Investing for all seasons.

For every stage in life, there are different financial strategies

COME ON, ADMIT IT. YOU DON'T WANT TO BE JUST comfortable. You want real wealth. You want enough money that you don't have to worry about which college you can send Junior to or whether you are going to have to sweat out your golden years.

Simply put, wealth equals options and opportunities. So when is the best time to develop and implement your personal wealth-creation plan? Right now. Whether you are dealing with anxiety-ridden teenagers or entering your peak earning years, it's not too late to map out your short- and long-term financial goals, master your money and build a solid portfolio. Says Baunita Greer, presi-dent of New York-based Cromwell, Miller & Greer Inc., who, this month, will host a conference on wealth building in Chicago: "For the most part, people--especially African Americans-don't know how to get started. They usually believe the time isn't right or they don't have enough money to invest. The fact of the matter is that they shouldn't wait to get involved in investing. They may just run out of time."

The key to building wealth is what Todd Leigh Mayo, author of The Art and Science of Successful Investing: The Complete Guide to Creating and Managing Wealth (Capital Communications Inc., $24.95), calls the "eighth wonder of the world"--compound interest. It may seem elementary, but compounding gives you the best shot at taking even a small number of dollars and watching them multiply exponentially. For example, if you were able to invest only $100 a month and placed it in a vehicle that produced an average annual return of 6%, which is a couple of points better than a money market fund, you would have earned $16,470 within 10 years. Contribute the same amount per month to an investment with an average annual return of 18%--close to the performance figure produced by a number of quality mutual funds over the past few years--you would have amassed $33,625 in 10 years and, if you held it an additional five years, you'd have pocketed $91,921.

Of course, the earlier you get started, the better your chances of meeting your financial targets. Many investors don't move because they feel they don't have the knowledge or become jittery after reading the recent news reports of anticipated inflation and rising interest rates that have made the stock market move up, down and sideways. Don't think of the market as a lottery or a casino. The fact of the matter is that long-term investors fare much better--even with the occasional 100-point dips and 15% market corrections--than individuals who place their money in passbook savings accounts or, worse yet, stuff bucks in a mattress. To keep you on track follow the general rule of thumb of subtracting your age from 100% to determine how much of your assets you should allocate to aggressive investments. For example, if you're 25, you should put about 75% of your assets in stocks or stock mutual funds. Of course, take into account the size and dynamics of your household.

In this 27-page equal opportunity package, BLACK ENTERPRISE seeks to help you achieve your financial goals regardless of your stage of life. You will discover how to get your teenage kids started as well as how to get--and stay--on course yourself, from your 20s through your 50s. We've even managed to get the so-called Godfather of Investment Clubs to share his lifelong money management and investment techniques with you. And, we provide an asset allocation model for each age group as well as worksheets at the end of our package to help you track your cash flow and figure out your net worth.

Read the following pages and take the steps to change the financial direction of your life.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:637
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