Norma Skeete is a real estate professional based in Arlington, Virginia. She moved to the United States in 1980 from Jamaica with a background in accounting. While in the process of settling down in her adopted country, she had the good fortune of being introduced to real estate investing and the financial services industry almost simultaneously. Norma did not become active either as an agent or an investor until 2011 although she was a member of a real estate investment group which was quite educational. Instead she made the decision to pursue the financial services opportunity on a part-time basis along with her accounting career.
Norma will be forever grateful that she made that decision and sees it as a seminal point in her life as it opened her eyes to her ignorance regarding the importance of financial planning. She would soon realize that she had lots of company.
Her affiliation was with A.L. Williams, a start-up financial services company on a crusade to educate people under the banner of Buy Term and Invest the Difference – a catchy slogan for term life insurance and mutual fund investing. The company is now named Primerica Financial Services after several affiliations, including Smith Barney, on it’s way to becoming the largest financial services company.
What is investing? According to the Webster’s Dictionary, “investing is committing money for a financial return.” What it fails to point out though, is that investing carries risk – there is no guarantee – as opposed to saving, where you are always assured the return of your capital on which you are paid interest.
Norma was intrigued by the simplicity of the basic investing principles:
- Protect your goals with insurance
- Pay yourself first by the use of automatic withdrawals
- Establish an emergency fund
- Invest – not save
And she loved sharing them with whomever would listen. It became a mission for Norma and she became a student of the business amassing numerous stock broker licenses to the extent that she could have had her own brokerage if she wanted. Simply put, it is a matter of seeking out assistance and education to get one’s goals on paper. From there, a roadmap is developed to show exactly what needs to done in order to meet those goals.
As a result of the crusade launched by A.L. Williams and subsequently joined by others, a very large percentage of the population – the working population at least – is doing some investing by way of retirement plans through employers – 401(K), 403(B), Individual Retirement Plans (IRA). Many also take advantage of the information gleaned for the sundry financial TV shows.
An important aspect of investing is diversification. “Never put all your eggs in one basket” is a common mantra. Still, for most people, that diversification is mostly between different types of stock market offerings. Not enough people are considering real estate. Norma believes this is a mistake.
Norma believes that real estate investing should be considered. Real estate is a superior investment vehicle. There are many advantages to real estate investing. Most of the wealthy have real estate holdings in their portfolios as they know it is a great wealth-building asset.
The volatility of the stock market should be a reason for you to ponder this avenue.
Norma intends to cover this topic further. Do check back.