Build. Grow. Protect

%POST_TITLE% Thumbnail

by: Cory Carlton | CEO & Co-Founder

When it comes to our financial future, we all go through different phases…

Build. Grow. Protect.

There is not a specific age for each phase. It depends on where you currently are and what your financial goals and dreams are.

When it comes to your financial future or building wealth (whatever that means to you), you need to understand these phases and their importance. Let’s dive in… 


Mainstream media does a great job of talking about the kind of growth you should be looking for on your investments but the reality is there is another number that’s far more important. 

A recent study of peoples’ accounts at retirement showed that 74% of their assets were from what that individual, or couple, saved themselves. That means only 26% of their assets came from interest/growth.

What does this mean? It is far more important as to how much you save instead of the return you get.

So, to build your wealth you need to save as much as you can. That’s not a huge surprise but people often get tied up in the returns instead of focusing on maximizing their savings.

When building wealth you need a plan as to how you are going to get as much saved on your behalf as possible. Because pension plans are rare, good matching options are dwindling, Social Security is not reliable, and we’re not getting 18% on our checking accounts as my grandfather did.

It’s all on you. How do we start to build and grow?


We’ve established that it is pivotal as to how much you save now you need to make sure you are saving in the right places.

Here are the places you generally want to save your money, and in this order… 

Free Money – this would be a matching plan from your employer's 401K. This is free money and since it is more important to save as much as possible you want to maximize the match available to you. 

What you don’t want to do is overcontribute to your 401K above the match you receive because that will compound your tax risk in retirement. Another topic for another article.

Tax-Free Money – This would be your Roth accounts, such as Roth IRAs and Roth 401Ks. Make sure if you have a 401K you ask your HR person if there is a Roth option. You want tax-free money. 

We did a recent comparison of someone saving all their money in tax-deferred accounts, like 401Ks and IRAs compared to using a tax-free option and by using tax-free money in retirement he was going to have nearly $700,000 more income in retirement. Simply because of where his money will be coming from.

You want to use Roth accounts if you can as they have income limits and contribution limits. If you make too much to contribute to a Roth account, then you may be a good fit for a 7702 plan. It has the same tax-free benefits, plus a few other things, with no limitations. Great for high-income earners. 

Before you save anywhere else make sure you have these two categories maxed out for your benefit.

Taxable Money – these are your qualified accounts/tax-deferred. Meaning you don’t pay taxes on the money you save but you do pay taxes when you take it out in retirement. The most common accounts are 401Ks and IRAs.

This is the kind of money the government wants you saving in because they get the most tax revenue from these accounts. 

The idea is you save money on the acorn you plant but pay taxes on the massive oak tree that grows. A great deal for the government and not the best option for savers.

When growing your money you need to make sure you are saving your money in the right places for your goals and dreams.


There are two aspects to protecting our financial future and dreams. You use specific kinds of life insurance to replace income if someone dies too soon. Or a health insurance plan that covers the costs of a nursing home.

These things are important to plan for because if the income is not available to pay bills and be saved for the future, the future will not exist. 

Same thing for a nursing home stay. Current costs are nearly $100,000 a year for a nursing home. That could wipe out savings rapidly. 

Along these lines, you also need to make sure you have a solid estate plan established. You have an estate if you own your home and have things that would pass to someone else. Having an estate is not determined by having a certain amount of money or assets. Lots of people have that misconception and think they don’t have enough for an estate plan.

The foundation of a solid estate plan is a revocable living trust. Not a will. This is an entire series of articles all on its own. If you have not taken the steps to protect your family and all that you have worked for, we need to talk.

As you get closer to retirement you transition from the growth side of saving to the distribution phase and this is when protecting your money becomes pivotal.

You can properly reposition your assets to various accounts that give you growth, better management, and protection from a market loss.

Protecting your money from a market correction while you are using the money is monumental. 

The point in all this is that you need a strategy, no matter how old you are, to go through each phase.

We give our clients a step-by-step guide to help them through each phase of life. We consider what’s important to you and then we plan for the things you don’t see coming and we make sure your plan can change as your life changes.

Remember: Build. Grow. Protect.

You will likely find yourself in at least two phases simultaneously. That's normal. You can be in all three as well and we can guide you every step of the way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cory Carlton is the CEO & Co-Founder of Both Hands FG. He loves helping people achieve and realize their goals. He has found that people often are unsure of their future because they simply don't have a plan. Together, that is what Cory builds with our clients. A plan for now and in the future. When he is not working with our advisors and clients he is spending time with his wife and four young children, often out in nature.