FINANCIAL FOCUS: When should you adjust your investment mix?

submitted by Sasha Fitzpatrick

There are no shortcuts to investment success — you need to establish a long-term strategy and stick with it. This means you’ll want to create an investment mix based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon — and then regularly review it to ensure it’s still meeting your needs.

In fact, investing for the long term doesn’t necessarily mean you should lock your investments in forever. Throughout your life, you’ll likely need to make some changes.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different and there’s no prescribed formula of when and how you should adjust your investments. But some possibilities may be worth considering.

For example, a few years before you retire, you may want to reevaluate your risk exposure and consider moving part of your portfolio into a more conservative position. When you were decades away from retiring, you may have felt more comfortable with a more aggressive positioning because you had time to bounce back from any market downturns. But as you near retirement, it may make sense to lower your risk level. And as part of a move toward a more conservative approach, you also may want to evaluate the cash positions in your portfolio. When the market has gone through a decline, as has been the case in 2022, you may not want to tap into your portfolio to meet short-term and emergency needs, so having sufficient cash on hand is important. Keep in mind, though, that having too much cash on the sidelines may affect your ability to reach your long-term goals.

Even if you decide to adopt a more conservative investment position before you retire, though, you may still benefit from some growth-oriented investments in your portfolio to help you keep ahead of — or at least keep pace with — inflation. As you know, inflation has surged in 2022, but even when it’s relatively mild, it can still significantly erode your purchasing power over time.

Changes in your own goals or circumstances may also lead you to modify your investment mix. You might decide to retire earlier or later than you originally planned. You might even change your plans for the type of retirement you want, choosing to work part time for a few years. Your family situation may change — perhaps you have another child for whom you’d like to save and invest for college. Any of these events could lead you to review your portfolio to find new opportunities or to adjust your risk level — or both.

You might wonder if you should also consider changing your investment mix in response to external forces, such as higher interest rates or a rise in inflation, as we’ve seen this year. It’s certainly true that these types of events can affect parts of your portfolio, but it may not be advisable to react by shuffling your investment mix. After all, nobody can really predict how long these forces will keep their momentum — it’s quite possible, for instance, that inflation will have subsided noticeably within a year. But more important, you should make investment moves based on the factors we’ve already discussed: your goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and individual circumstances.

By reviewing your portfolio regularly, possibly with the assistance of a financial professional, you can help ensure your investment mix will always be appropriate for your needs and goals.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Edward Jones, Member SIPC

FINANCIAL FOCUS – 529 plan: underused but valuable

submitted by Sasha Fitzpatrick

In just a few weeks, students will be heading off to college – and parents will be getting out their checkbooks. Without a college-bound student in your home right now, you might not be thinking much about tuition and other higher education expenses, but if you have young children, these costs may eventually be of concern – so how should you prepare for them?

It’s never too soon to start saving and investing. Unfortunately, many people think that they have a lot of “catching up” to do. In fact, nearly half of Americans say they don’t feel like they’re saving enough to cover future education expenses, according to a 2022 survey conducted by financial services firm Edward Jones with Morning Consult, a global research company.

Of course, it’s not always easy to set aside money for college when you’re already dealing with the high cost of living, and, at the same time, trying to save and invest for retirement. Still, even if you can only devote relatively modest amounts for your children’s education, these contributions can add up over time. But where should you put your money?

Personal savings accounts are the top vehicle Americans are using for their education funding strategies, according to the Edward Jones/Morning Consult survey. But there are other options, one of which is a 529 plan, which may offer more attractive features, including the following:

Possible tax benefits – If you invest in a 529 education savings plan, your earnings can grow federally income tax-free, provided the money is used for qualified education expenses. (Withdrawals not used for these expenses will generally incur taxes and penalties on investment earnings.) If you invest in your own state’s 529 plan, you may receive state tax benefits, too, depending on the state.

Flexibility in naming the beneficiary – As the owner of the 529 plan, you can name anyone you want as the beneficiary. You can also change the beneficiary. If your eldest child foregoes college, you can name a younger sibling or another eligible relative.
Support for non-college programs – Even if your children don’t want to go to college, it doesn’t mean they’re uninterested in any type of postsecondary education or training. And a 529 plan can pay for qualified expenses at trade or vocational schools, including apprenticeship programs registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Payment of student loans – A 529 plan can help pay off federal or private student loans, within limits.

Keep in mind that state-by-state tax treatment varies for different uses of 529 plans, so you’ll want to consult with your tax professional before putting a plan in place.

Despite these and other benefits, 529 plans are greatly under-utilized. Only about 40% of Americans even recognize the 529 plan as an education savings tool, and only 13 percent are actually using it, again according to the Edward Jones/Morning Consult study.

But as the cost of college and other postsecondary programs continues to rise, it will become even more important for parents to find effective ways to save for their children’s future education expenses. So, consider how a 529 plan can help you and your family. And the sooner you get started, the better.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC.

Investors should understand the risks involved of owning investments. The value of investments fluctuates and investors can lose some or all of their principal.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Use your financial strategy like GPS

submitted by Sasha Fitzpatrick

When you’re driving these days, it’s pretty hard to get lost because your smartphone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) can get you just about anywhere. And as an investor, you can have a similar experience by employing another directional tool – a personalized financial strategy.

Let’s look at the parallels between your GPS and this type of strategy.

To begin with, your GPS pinpoints your exact location at the start of your trip – in other words, it tells you where you are. And when you create a financial strategy, your first step is to evaluate your current situation by answering these types of questions: What are your assets? How much do you earn? How much do you owe? How much are you contributing to your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement accounts? Once you’ve got a clear picture of your finances, you’ll be ready to begin your journey toward your long-term goals.

Once your GPS has identified your starting point, it will then show you where you want to go and the routes to help you get there. And it’s the same with your financial strategy – you want it to help lead you to a particular place in your life. In fact, a well-designed strategy can show you the steps you need to take to help reach more than one destination – to a place where you can send your children to college, a place where you can retire comfortably, a place where you can leave the type of legacy you want, and so on.

Here’s another element of your GPS that applies to your financial strategy – the warnings. You’re certainly familiar with those thick red lines your GPS shows to indicate traffic slowdowns ahead. And while they’re annoying, they’re also useful in cautioning you that you may arrive at your destination later than you had originally planned. Your financial strategy can also express “warnings” about events that could hinder you from reaching your goals. These obstacles might include an illness or disability that could keep you out of work for a while, or the need for some type of long-term care, such as a nursing home stay or the services of a home health aide. Your financial strategy can not only identify these threats, but with the guidance of a financial professional, suggest potential solutions.

In addition to providing warnings about things such as heavy traffic and road construction, your GPS can change your route if you miss a turn or if you decide, for whatever reason, to go a slightly different way. Your financial strategy can also show you alternatives, if it’s comprehensive and overseen by a financial professional, who, using specialized software, can create hypotheticals – illustrations that provide alternative outcomes for different steps, such as retiring at various ages, investing different amounts each year or earning different rates of return. These hypotheticals can be quite helpful to you as your chart your course toward your goals, especially if you need to change your plans along the way.

Your GPS and your financial strategy are two great tools for helping get you where you want to go.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Edward Jones, Member SIPC.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Financial advisors can help reduce anxiety

submitted by Sasha Fitzpatrick

The long-running coronavirus pandemic has fueled a lot of anxieties – including financial ones. But some people have had far fewer worries than others.

Consider this: Among those investors who work with a financial advisor, 84% said that doing so gave them a greater sense of comfort about their finances during the pandemic, according to a survey from Age Wave and Edward Jones.

Of course, many people experience investment-related fears even without a global health crisis, and that’s probably not surprising, given the periodic volatility of the financial markets. But financial guidance can come in handy during relatively normal times, too.

A financial professional can help you …

  • Look past the headlines – Inflation, interest rates, pandemics, elections – there’s always something in the news that could affect the investment world in the short term. But by helping you construct a portfolio that’s built for the long term and reflects your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, a financial advisor can enable you to look past the headlines.
  • Avoid emotional decisions – Many people let their emotions drive their investment choices. When the market goes through a downturn and the value of their investments drops, they sell to “cut losses,” even though these same investments may still have good business fundamentals and promising futures. Conversely, when the market is on an uptick, some poeple chase after “hot” investments, even when they become overpriced and may have very little room to grow. But a financial advisor can help keep you from making these fear- and greed-based actions by only recommending moves that make sense for your situation.
  • Work toward multiple goals – At various times in your life, you may have simultaneous financial goals. For example, you could be investing for a retirement that’s decades away, while also trying to save for a child’s college education. A financial professional can suggest ways you can keep working toward both objectives, in terms of how much money you can afford to invest and what types of savings and investment vehicles you should consider.
  • Prepare for the unexpected – Most of us did not need a pandemic to remind us that unexpected events can happen in our lives – and some of these events can have serious financial impacts on us and our loved ones. Do you have adequate life insurance? How about disability insurance? And if you ever needed some type of long-term care, such as an extended stay in a nursing home, how would you pay for it? A financial advisor can evaluate your protection needs and recommend appropriate solutions that fit within your overall financial strategy.
  • Adapt to changing circumstances – Over time, many things may change in your life – your job, your family situation, your retirement plans, and so on. A financial professional can help you adjust your financial strategy in response to these changes.

Achieving your financial goals may present challenges, but it doesn’t have to cause you years of worry and distress – as long as you get the help you need.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.
Edward Jones, Member SIPC.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Should inflation affect your investment moves?

submitted by Sasha Fitzpatrick

As you know, inflation heated up in 2021, following years of pretty stable – and low – numbers. And now, early in 2022, we’re still seeing elevated prices. As a consumer, you may need to adjust your activities somewhat, but as an investor, how should you respond to inflation?

First, it helps to know the causes of this recent inflationary spike. Essentially, it’s a case of basic economics – strong demand for goods meeting inadequate supply, caused by material and labor shortages, along with shipping and delivery logjams. In other words, too many dollars chasing too few goods. Once the supply chain issues begin to ease and consumer spending moves from goods to services as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, it’s likely that inflation will moderate, but it may still stay above pre-pandemic levels throughout 2022.

Given this outlook, you may want to review your investment portfolio. First, consider stocks. Generally speaking, stocks can do well in inflationary periods because companies’ revenues and earnings may increase along with inflation. But some sectors of the stock market typically do better than others during inflationary times. Companies that can pass along higher costs to consumers due to strong demand for their goods – such as firms that produce building materials or supply steel or other commodities to other businesses – can do well. Conversely, companies that sell nonessential goods and services, such as appliances, athletic apparel and entertainment, may struggle more when prices are rising.

Of course, it’s still a good idea to own a variety of stocks from various industries because it can help reduce the impact of market volatility on any one sector. And to help counteract the effects of rising prices, you might also consider investing in companies that have a long track record of paying and raising stock dividends. (Keep in mind, though, that these companies are not obligated to pay dividends and can reduce or discontinue them at any time.)

Apart from stocks, how can inflation affect other types of investments? Think about bonds. When you invest in a bond, you receive regular interest payments until the bond matures. But these payments stay the same, so, over time, rising inflation can eat into your bond’s future income, which may also cause the price of your bond to drop – a concern if you decide to sell the bond before it matures. The impact of inflation is especially sharp on the price of longer-term bonds because of the cumulative loss of purchasing power.

However, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) can provide some protection against inflation. The face value, or principal amount, of each TIPS is $1,000, but this principal is adjusted based on changes in the U.S. Consumer Price Index. So, during periods of inflation, your principal will increase, also increasing your interest payments. When inflation drops, though, your principal and interest payments will decrease, but you’ll never receive less than the original principal value when the TIPS mature. Talk to your financial advisor to determine if TIPS may be appropriate for you.
Ultimately, inflation may indeed be something to consider when managing your investments. But other factors – especially your risk tolerance, time horizon and long-term goals – should still be the driving force behind your investment decisions. A solid investment strategy can serve you well, regardless of whether prices move up or down.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Watch out for tax scammers

from Sasha Fitzpatrick

Sadly, identity theft happens throughout the year – but some identity thieves are particularly active during tax-filing season. How can you protect yourself?

One of the most important moves you can make is to be suspicious of requests by people or entities claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. You may receive phone calls, texts and emails, but these types of communication are often just “phishing” scams with one goal in mind: to capture your personal information. These phishers can be quite clever, sending emails that appear to contain the IRS logo or making calls that may even seem to be coming from the IRS. Don’t open any links or attachments to the emails and don’t answer the calls – and don’t be alarmed if the caller leaves a vaguely threatening voicemail, either asking for personal information, such as your Social Security number, or informing you of some debts you supposedly owe to the IRS that must be taken care of “immediately.”

In reality, the IRS will not initiate contact with you by phone, email, text message or social media to request personal or financial information, or to inquire about issues pertaining to your tax returns. Instead, the agency will first send you a letter. And if you’re unsure of the legitimacy of such a letter, contact the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

Of course, not all scam artists are fake IRS representatives – some will pass themselves off as tax preparers. Fortunately, most tax preparers are honest, but it’s not too hard to find the dishonest ones who might ask you to sign a blank return, promise you a big refund before looking at your records or try to charge a fee based on the percentage of your return. Legitimate tax preparers will make no grand promises and will explain their fees upfront. Before hiring someone to do your taxes, find out their qualifications. The IRS provides some valuable tips for choosing a reputable tax preparer, but you can also ask your friends and relatives for referrals.

Another tax scam to watch out for is the fraudulent tax return – that is, someone filing a return in your name. To do so, a scammer would need your name, birthdate and Social Security number. If you’re already providing two of these pieces of information – your name and birthdate on social media, and you also include your birthplace – you could be making it easier for scam artists to somehow get the third. It’s a good idea to check your privacy settings and limit what you’re sharing publicly. You might also want to use a nickname and omit your last name, birthday and birthplace.

Here’s one more defensive measure: File your taxes as soon as you can. Identity thieves often strike early in the tax season, so they can file their bogus returns before their victims.

To learn more about tax scams, visit the IRS website (irs.gov) and search for the “Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft.” This document describes some signs of identity theft and provides tips for what to do if you are victimized.

It’s unfortunate that identity theft exists, but by taking the proper precautions, you can help insulate yourself from this threat, even when tax season is over.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones. Member SIPC.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Don’t avoid “taboo” topics with older parents

by Sasha Fitzpatrick

If your parents are getting close to retirement age, or are already retired, it may be time to talk with them about financial and aging issues, some of which may involve difficult conversations. For the sake of everyone in your family, don’t avoid these “taboo” topics.

You’ll need to be careful about approaching these subjects with your parents. Mention ahead of time that you’d like to talk to them about their future plans and reassure them that you want to understand their wishes, so their affairs will be taken care of as they would like.

If your parents are agreeable, choose a location comfortable for them and ask whom they might like to invite (or not invite). Then, think about how to open the conversation, preferably not with what they want to do with their money – this could be interpreted as your seeking information about your inheritance or being skeptical about their financial decisions. Instead, build a broad-based discussion about their vision for their aging years. A series of shorter conversations may allow you to cover topics more comfortably, one by one, rather than trying to solve everything at once.

Try to address these areas:

Health care – You’ll want to learn if your parents have established the appropriate health-related legal documents – a health care power of attorney, which gives someone the authority to make important decisions about their medical care if they become unable to do so themselves, and a living will, which spells out the extraordinary medical treatments they may or may not want.

Independence – As people age, they may begin to lose their independence. Have your parents considered any options for long-term care, such as a nursing home stay, or the services of a home health aide? And do they have plans in place? If they plan to receive support from family members, do their expectations match yours?

Financial goals – Focusing on the personal and financial aspects of the legacy your parents want to leave can be a valuable conversation. Have your parents updated their will or other arrangements, such as a living trust? Have they named a financial power of attorney to make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated? Do they have the proper beneficiary designations on their insurance policies and retirement plan accounts? If you can position these issues as being more about your parents’ control over their financial destiny, rather than “who will get what,” you’ll more likely have a productive conversation.

Last wishes – You’ll want to find out if your parents have left instructions in their will about their funerals and last wishes. Express to them that you, or another close family member, should know who is responsible for making sure their wishes are met.

Money, independence and aging can be sensitive topics. Don’t think you have to go it alone – you can enlist help from another close family member. Or, if you know your parents are working with a trusted advisor, such as an attorney or financial professional, you could see if they’d be willing to have this person participate in your talks. You might even be able to introduce them to one of your advisors.

In any case, keep talking. These conversations can be challenging, but, if handled correctly, can be of great benefit to your parents and your entire family.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Edward Jones, Member SIPC.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Retirees fear becoming a burden

by Sasha Fitzpatrick

It’s human nature to want to make things easier for our loved ones – and to have great concern about adding any stress to their lives. In fact, 72 percent of retirees say that one of their biggest fears is becoming a burden on their families, according to the Edward Jones/Age Wave Four Pillars of the New Retirement study. How can you address this fear?

First, don’t panic. In all the years leading up to your retirement, there’s a lot you can do to help maintain your financial independence and avoid burdening your grown children or other family members. Consider these suggestions:

Increase contributions to your retirement plans and health savings account. The greater your financial resources, the greater your financial independence – and the less likely you would ever burden your family. So, contribute as much as you can afford to your IRA, your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. At a minimum, put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contributions, if offered, and increase your contributions whenever your salary goes up. You may also want to contribute to a health savings account (HSA), if it’s available.

Invest for growth potential. If you start investing early enough, you’ll have a long time horizon, which means you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of investments that offer growth potential. So, in all your investment vehicles – IRA, 401(k), HSA and whatever other accounts you may have – try to devote a reasonable percentage of your portfolio to growth-oriented investments, such as stocks and stock-based funds. Of course, there are no guarantees and you will undoubtedly see market fluctuations and downturns, but you can help reduce the impact of volatility by holding a diversified portfolio for the long term and periodically rebalancing it to help ensure it is aligned with your risk tolerance and time horizon. Keep in mind, though, that diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market.

Protect yourself from long-term care costs. Even if you invest diligently for decades, your accumulated wealth could be jeopardized, and you could even become somewhat dependent on your family, if you ever need some type of long-term care, such as an extended stay in a nursing home or the services of a home health care aide. The likelihood of your needing such assistance is not insignificant, and the care can be quite expensive. In fact, the median cost for home health services is nearly $55,000 per year, while a private room in a nursing home can exceed $100,000, according to Genworth, an insurance company. To help protect yourself against these steep and rising costs, you may want to contact a financial professional, who can suggest an appropriate strategy, possibly involving various insurance options.

Create your estate plans. If you were ever to become incapacitated, you could end up imposing various burdens on your family. To guard against this possibility, you’ll want to ensure your estate plans contain key documents, such as a financial power of attorney and a health care directive.
It’s safe to say that no one ever wants to become a financial burden to their family. But putting appropriate strategies in place can go a long way toward helping avoid this outcome.

Edward Jones is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: What does retirement security mean to you?

by Sasha Fitzpatrick

October is National Retirement Security Month. But what does retirement security mean to you? And how can you work toward achieving it?

Here are some suggestions:

Build your resources. While you’re working, save in tax-advantaged accounts such as your IRA and 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. In your 401(k), contribute at least enough to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered, and increase your contributions whenever your salary goes up. Remember, especially early in your career, time is often your biggest asset. Be sure to save early, since the longer you wait, the more you’ll need to save to help reach your goals.

Look for ways to boost retirement income. When transitioning to retirement, you can take steps to align your income with your needs. For example, consider Social Security. You can start collecting it as early as 62, but your monthly payments will be much larger if you can wait until your “full” retirement age, typically between 66 and 67. (Payments will “max out” at age 70.) So, if you have sufficient income from a pension or your 401(k) and other retirement accounts, and you and your spouse are in good health with a family history of longevity, you may consider delaying taking Social Security. You also might want to explore other income-producing vehicles, such as certain annuities that are designed to provide a lifetime income stream.

Prepare for unexpected costs. During your retirement, you can anticipate some costs, such as housing and transportation, but other expenses are more irregular and can’t always be predicted, such as those connected with health care. Even with Medicare, you could easily spend a few thousand dollars a year on medical expenses, so you may want to budget for these costs as part of your emergency savings, and possibly purchase supplemental insurance. You may also want to consider the possibility of needing some type of long-term care, which is not typically covered by Medicare and can be quite expensive. The average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home is more than $100,000, and it’s about $55,000 per year for a home health aide, according to Genworth, an insurance company. To address these costs, you may want to consider some form of protection, such as long-term care insurance or life insurance with a long-term care component.

Do your estate planning. It’s hard to feel totally secure in retirement if you’re unsure of what might happen if you have an unexpected health event, become incapacitated or die earlier than expected. That’s why you’ll want to create a comprehensive estate plan – one that might include documents such as a durable power of attorney, a will and a living trust. A review of your insurance coverages and beneficiaries can also help protect your assets and ensure they are distributed the way you want. In creating your plan, you will need to work with your financial advisor and a legal professional, and possibly your tax advisor as well.

Thinking holistically about your retirement security and developing and executing a strategy aligned with your goals may help free you to enjoy one of the most rewarding times of your life.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Sasha Fitzpatrick can be contacted at EdwardJones Financial Advisor, 22 Common St., Waterville, ME 04901, or at sasha.fitzpatrick@edwardjones.com.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Plan ahead before joining the Great Resignation

by Sasha Fitzpatrick

It’s been called the “Great Resignation” – the large number of Americans voluntarily leaving their jobs. If you plan to be part of it (ideally with another source of employment lined up), you’ll need to make the financial moves necessary to keep making progress toward your long-term goals.

Here’s some background: After a year in which the pandemic caused so many people to lose their jobs, the economy is opening back up, but the “quit rate” – the number of jobs people have voluntarily left – has been breaking records. Some economists say this high quit rate is because people are confident of getting better jobs, with higher pay and more flexibility to work at home, or because they are preparing to start their own business or join the gig economy.

If you’re thinking of joining this temporary migration from the workforce, how can you help ensure that you’ll be financially stable and can continue to make progress toward your long-term goals?

Your first move is to look clearly at your financial situation. As mentioned above, it’s best to have new employment in hand before you quit your job. Alternatively, perhaps you have a spouse or life partner who earns enough to sustain the two of you, or you’ve built up an emergency fund that gives you a cushion.

However, if your short-term income is less than you previously earned or you need to go without a paycheck for a while, could you still pay your bills? If you are strapped for cash, you might be tempted to tap into your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. But this move will generally result in taxes and, if you are younger than 59 ½, a 10 percent penalty as well. Because of this, and because your retirement accounts are designed to be a financial resource after you retire, think twice before dipping into these funds if you leave your current employer.

If your employer allows it, you can leave your money in the 401(k) so you’ll still be accumulating resources for retirement. You also have the option to roll those funds into an individual retirement account (IRA) or a new employer’s retirement plan.

And if you plan to work for yourself as a freelancer, consultant or business owner, you’ll still want to save toward retirement. Possible retirement plans for the self-employed include an “owner-only” 401(k), a SEP-IRA or a SIMPLE IRA, all of which may be relatively easy to establish and offer tax benefits. A financial advisor can help you find a retirement plan that’s appropriate for your needs.

Here’s something else to keep in mind – an emergency fund. As mentioned above, if you already have one, you’ll have some breathing room if you’re thinking of leaving your job and might have a temporary gap in income. But as the name suggests, an emergency fund is there to help cover unexpected costs, such as a major home repair, without forcing you to take out a loan, or cash out part of your longer-term investments. So, if you are planning to tap your emergency fund, work to restock it as soon as possible.

If you’re participating in the “Great Resignation,” it means you’re feeling positive about your future employment prospects, which is great. But you’ll want to support that optimism with a strong financial foundation.

Sasha Fitzpatrick can be contacted at EdwardJones Financial Advisor, 22 Common St., Waterville, ME 04901, or at sasha.fitzpatrick@edwardjones.com.