Money Matters - September - 2020

Phase of Life Goals – Timing Your Next Move

Money Matters is a new GEARS Magazine column. Topics appearing in this column will be informative, timely, and selected to address the unique financial challenges of small, medium, and large automotive businesses in today’s global economy.

Future topics will cover investment strategies, risk-reward principles, financial planning, employee benefit plans, retirement planning, exit strategies, and legacy planning.

Before I get into the topic of this first article, I should introduce myself. I’m Eric Harding, the founder of EmpiriKal Partners, LLC. I graduated from Hillsdale College in 1991. You’ve probably heard of Hillsdale from conservative luminaries like Rush, Hannity, Tucker, Levin, Prager, and others. Hillsdale is independent of federal funding and based on these four conservative pillars – Freedom, Learning, Faith, and Character.

Hillsdale taught me to think differently about the financial world. While some investment advisors fixate primarily on market fundamentals, Hillsdale taught me to also look through a geopolitical lens, finding opportunities that others might miss.

My financial career spans over 28 years – 24 of them with Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo. These huge institutions don’t provide the freedom and flexibility I wanted for serving the unique needs of our clients. So, in 2016, EmpiriKal Partners, LLC was established on Hillsdale’s four pillars.

EmpiriKal Partners is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm. We don’t sell investments to our clients. We make investments for our clients with no commissions or hidden expenses – just one flat management fee that’s performance-based as a percentage of the portfolio’s value. So, the only way we make more is to make more for our clients. We believe that’s how it should be.

Hopefully, that’s enough of an introduction for you to be comfortable with me and to become a regular reader of Money Matters. Of course, you’re always welcome to contact us at www.empirikalpartners.com with your financial questions – No Charge, No Pressure, No Obligation, Just Sound Advice.

In this article, I’ll explain the importance of aligning your current financial situation with your Phase of Life Goals, tempered by your age and monetary constraints.

While determining your current financial situation is straight forward, what do I mean by Phase of Life Goals? I’m not referring to your age but rather the financial phases of your life. While they do typically coincide, it’s not always the case.

  • Startup Phase – You’ve made little or no progress toward building your nest egg. Some advisors refer to this as the “man at work phase.” Using life insurance, with the stroke of a pen, you create an instant estate that protects your family if you die too soon. And with regularly scheduled monthly contributions, you establish an initial investment portfolio using savings and mutual funds or other similar financial products.
  • Building Phase – You’re out of the gate, but your portfolio, by itself, isn’t large enough to generate the growth you need to reach your goal. You continue making installments into the investment fund, but you’re beginning to see the compounding effect of higher returns on your investments. You’re now combining the impact of “man at work” with “money at work.”
  • Growth Phase – Your money is now working more aggressively for you, and combined with your regular installments, things are taking shape. You realize the power behind the concept that a part of everything you earn should be yours to keep.
  • The Preservation Phase – You’ve reached or nearly reached your retirement goal. Now your attention turns to saving taxes and generating income while preserving the value of your estate. This is “money at work.” With careful planning and execution, you can enjoy a retirement income you won’t outlive, leave a legacy, and sleep well at night.

While it’s never too soon, some of you might think it’s too late to get started. I assure you, it’s never too late. If not now, when will you start? You can’t go back to make a new beginning, but you can begin today to make a new ending.

Each Phase of Life Goal involves choices and strategies for Timing Your Next Move. These are topics for future articles.


Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and content provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.