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Nathan Boonstra

Nathan Boonstra

Planning for retirement can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. My ability to sort through all of the seemingly complex financial information will help in working towards giving you greater satisfaction as well as someone that you can depend on, to help guide you, in all of your financial decisions. We will work together to align the various investment choices along with your personal goals to help give you the confidence you need on your journey down the path to retirement and beyond.


Perspective


As a client of mine, your goals and objectives come first. I firmly believe that the investment decisions for your portfolio should be carefully aligned with your family’s values, unique financial situation and your ultimate goals. It is my fiduciary responsibility to ensure that your best interests always comes first.

We live in a fast paced world. When looking at the investment market, it is very easy to become overwhelmed. As your advisor, it is important that I sift through the information in order to provide you with different products that will help to create protection, income, and growth. This will allow us to build a total plan in order to be effective in preparing for the journey down the path to retirement, while focusing on what is most important to you!

 

Personal


I am a graduate of Grand Valley State University, where I double majored in both business and finance. Born and raised on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids, I have a strong connection with our community and look forward to further establishing my roots within West Michigan. I enjoy spending the majority of my time in the outdoors, where I enjoy hunting, fishing, and hiking, with my friends, family, and my dog Mags.

 
Maybe you just graduated college and landed your absolute dream job. Or maybe you have been working with the same company for ten years now and are considering a change of career. Regardless of what your situation is, one main source of focus should remain a constant; your workplace benefits. Having benefits in your workplace, and better yet; understanding what those benefits are is a very important aspect you should keep in mind as you are looking to start your career or perhaps exploring the idea of changing jobs. After all, millennials are the “job-hopping generation.” There are numerous staples to your financial future that a workplace can offer, many of these unfortunately tend to slip the mind throughout the application process. Beyond the seemingly bare minimum 401k match, keeping in mind benefits such as healthcare coverage, flexible schedules & vacation time, student loan repayment, and career & personal development should all be taken into consideration! Your future is much more complex than the dollar figure of your paycheck every week.
 
In today’s world, having healthcare coverage through your employer is one of the most important benefits to consider, and a huge factor for deciding if you’ll take on a new role at a new company. The future of the current healthcare system remains uncertain, so having guaranteed coverage provided by your employer is beneficial in more ways than you may think. For starters, you get to keep more money in your own pocket; which can be huge for young families that are just starting out. Not worrying about finding coverage on the healthcare exchange and having deal with that headache can really save you stress in the event something was to ever happen. Finally, many employers want to keep their employees healthy and will often throw in gym memberships and health classes as an added bonus, brownie points for getting fit!
 
Another point to consider when looking into a new job, is work-life balance. In today’s day and age, it seems to be more and more difficult to manage the roles and responsibilities of being an exceptional employee, along with the health and wellness of your home and social life. There is a never-ending stream of “things to get done and places to be,” whether it’s with your spouse, work colleagues, children, family, or even just downtime with friends. If you find yourself constantly exhausted from a the seemingly never ending pull of your time and energy, a flexible schedule should be taken into careful consideration before signing the dotted line on your new job offer. Now that being said; most of us won’t get a “work when you can” type of job, but this thought process also pertains to vacation time. Two weeks’ vacation may sound great at first, but as you soon find out, that grandma’s birthday and your best friend’s Bachelor party have single handedly eaten through all your time off...you may find yourself reconsidering. Moral of the story here, understand the demands of your life and ensure before you sign that offer, that your personal life and emotional wellbeing won’t suffer as a result.
 
A sore subject among many millennials...student loans. Student loan debt is, and seems to continue to be a significant burden to the millennial budget. There are now more than 44 million college graduates who have amounted more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, yes you read that right...trillion. After making payments for months and even years, it seems like that loan burden will always be present. It is tough for millennials just starting out to balance finances when you hit the ground running backwards entering the workforce already owing, for some, tens of thousands of dollars. Working an entry level job because you don’t have experience all the while trying to make it on your own with high rent costs, student loan debt, credit card debt, and all the other bills you’re responsible for can make the future can look pretty glum. For many millennials, the reality of this has left them with very little (if any) money left over for anything else. Now, how does this fit into what to look for when applying for a job other than how big the salary is? One of the trending employee benefits for 2017 is student loan repayment, hallelujah! There is a light at the end of this tunnel! This benefit is monumental in helping young employees move forward in their early stages of life and is making jobs that much more competitive. Keep an eye for this up and coming benefit in the job market, it’s definitely one of the rising stars to making a company attractive to work for.
 
Your job is much more than just your salary or your paycheck. The people you work with become sort of like your second family, and your office your “home away from home.” You spend most your time with colleagues during the week, and most of the time they end up knowing you better than your best friends. You will grow close with your bosses and their desire to ensure you do well will increase as your relationship grows; after all...if you do well, the company does well too. You want to ensure that you will be setup to succeed and the people and environment you’re working in will be one that you can prosper. When your company invests time and money into you to help develop you as an employee, they have an incentive to keep you around and keep you happy. It is important to be challenged each day, so work to find a job you love, stick to it, and develop your skills to work your way up the corporate ladder! The people and the environment are a key component to your success!
 
Like I said in the beginning, we are the generation of job hoppers. With more and more college educated millennials entering the workplace, companies have had to get creative with their benefit packages to keep millennials from continuing the job to job trend. When looking for a new role or when negotiating your offer, it is ok to play hard to get! You are an asset to them...remember that. There are a lot of great benefit packages out there and it is well worth holding out for the one that best suits you. Understand your options and be selective in your decision, the choices you make today have a serious impact on your career and future.
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Millennials are often portrayed as the black plague for our country’s future. We are referred to as lazy, ungrateful, and incompetent. The consensus is that we will be detrimental to the future of our country because we don’t have a clue, but just how could that be? We are just beginning our adult lives and haven’t had a real impact on hardly anything yet. Most of the issues we face today started well before we were born. With our generation inheriting a seemingly endless national debt, a monumental student loan crisis, and little to no social security to utilize, how on earth could the most financially distraught generation be portrayed as becoming the wealthiest ever?

Here’s some insight into answering that question…

Entrepreneurship: Millennials have an undeniable drive to be independent and receive any and all praise associated with their accomplishments. What better feat to tackle than an aspiration to become self-employed? Unlike any generation has seen before, millennials are overhauling the entrepreneurial world. With the advances in technology, working remotely is seemingly becoming the norm and what generation is better suited to work from anywhere utilizing the vast array of technologies available to us than millennials? With small businesses popping up all over, millennials could really help strengthen the backbone of our economy and propel us into having a financial surplus instead of an overwhelming deficit. Come on you twenty and thirty-somethings! Launch that business you’ve always wanted to and get moving on changing the world already!!

Tactical Investors: Unlike generations before us, pretty much all millennials know, is a lagging economy and down markets. We don’t really know what it’s like when times are good. Small peaks we’ve experienced throughout our time as investors has given some millennials hope, but for the most part all we understand are uneasy market conditions and matching reactions from friends and family when it comes to investing. We have lived through the dot-com bubble; which burst in 2001, we have seen our country go into the Great Recession after the financial crisis in 2008, and we have seen the markets experience severe volatility in-between, making investing more and more difficult, especially for those emotional investors (and we all know millennials are the generation of feelings). Millennials however, (resilient as we are J) have been able to take advantage of most, if not all of these negative market conditions; because time is on our side. We have 30-40 years until retirement and will likely experience more economic downswings in the future. These dips create an excellent buying opportunity and many millennials have been able to buy in low and reap the rewards when the market returns to normalcy.

Technology: Advances in technology over just the past three decades have significantly changed the course of our future, in many aspects. Computers that used to fill the size of a room can now fit in our pocket. Waiting for the internet dial-up to connect is a thing of that past whereas now if your BuzzFeed article takes more than 6 seconds to load, it’s no longer important enough to read. Our leaps and bounds in technology will continue and the hope is, that it will further propel our economy into financial soundness. Trades on the stock market that used to have to be called in on a landline phone (I’m sorry, what is that again?), are now done in mere nanoseconds from the palm of your hand. There is unprecedented access to financial tools both for education and investment purposes. We can now invest spare change if we so choose! The benefit of all this to my fellow millennials is; if we start saving early and can utilize the power of compounding interest, a significant increase in wealth will be realized.

Millennials are a unique generation. We have endless opportunities available to us that weren’t available to previous generations. We can work from virtually anywhere, we can be tactical, and we can use our advanced knowledge of technology to make financial decisions with the touch of a finger. Being able to learn from mistakes made by our parents and grandparents has given us the tools to understand patterns and what doesn’t work, and has truly set us up for success. We must not forget what has happened throughout history, or we will be bound to repeat it. If the millennial generation can really hone in on our talents and all the opportunities and wealth of knowledge the twentieth century has provided for us; I believe we can very well become…the wealthiest generation of all time.

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We often hear from our friends and family, various tips on money and saving for retirement, but are they the ones that should really be giving us the advice?

The generations that pre-ceded the millennials typically have a different way of thinking when it comes to money. Does this mean that we shouldn’t take their advice and follow in their footsteps? Not exactly, but take the advice with a grain of salt. The financial world is ever changing and the one that previous generations grew up in is vastly different than the world we live in today. Here are a few of the topics that advice is commonly given on:

1. We hear “Don’t get a credit card.” – You should actually get a credit card to build up your credit. Just because your parents or grandparents paid for everything in cash, doesn’t mean that you can’t use this tool to help grow your credit score. A prompt and consistent record of credit card payments can have a significant impact on curving this score. There are also some significant rewards associated with certain credit card providers that can provide for numerous rewards such as cash back, airline vouchers, and hotel stays.

2. We are encouraged to “Buy a house.” - We have commonly heard the logic of “you got your first job, it’s now time to buy a home”. Our Parents and Grandparents have always said that buying a house is the best investment you can make and that there is nothing better than owning a home. Home ownership may be a right fit for some people and some situations but it is most certainly not a one size fits all answer. You may be fresh out of college with a new job. What happens if you get promoted or transferred to another region. It would complicate the situation if you were tied down with a mortgage. By renting through your first few years of your new job, you also will not have to worry about maintenance and upkeep expenses. This is not only limited to monetary expenses, but also a time expense as well.

3. Be sure to “Invest all your cash.” – It is important to invest your money, but it is equally as important to have an emergency fund. Unexpected life events happen and typically when they do, we need to have quick access to cash. It is crucial to make savings an expense. Get in the habit of systematic saving, not only in investment accounts, but in your bank accounts as well. I encourage my clients to set a threshold of the amount of cash they want to have in their emergency fund. Once we exceed that limit, we will look at investing the surplus.

There should be a disconnect between family and friends when it comes to advice with your money. You should work with an advisor that will be able to give their unbiased opinion and assessment for your unique situation. Investing is such an emotional event that affects each and every one of us. It is important to have that unbiased opinion come in to make the determination of when to take action or whether or not to stay the same course.

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