Meet Your Merchant: Offering financial guidance for turbulent times
Special to the Sun
Financial planning and investing can be a challenging topic for almost anyone. How should I invest my money? How much money do I invest? Is my financial house in order? The financial world is often complex and confusing.
Evan Salke, owner of Alpine Peaks Consulting, is an analytical guy who loves numbers and has been involved in finance since 1985. He holds an MBA with a finance specialization.
As an Investment Advisor Representative Salke helps people manage their financial resources. He doesn’t want people to out-live their savings — this is what he calls “true wealth.”
“There is no cookie-cutter answer that everyone can adhere to when it comes to financial planning,” Salke explains. “Everyone’s situation is completely individual. And that’s where I come in. I help assess individual, family or business needs.”
UNDERSTANDING YOUR MONEY
Salke suggests clients get their financial house in order first and then look at possible investments to get the best return on their money.
He assists his clients by helping them build a strong financial foundation.
“It’s important to understand the client’s current financial situation. This is where I begin,” he said. “How much debt are we looking at? Is it good debt or bad debt? Is the person living within their means or are they spending beyond it? Once we know this, I can advise accordingly.”
“Each client’s goals vary,” he continued. “Some families want to save for their children’s education while others want to plan for their retirement. There are other people who need guidance for legacy and estate planning.”
FEAR IN A TURBULENT MARKET
Fear can be driving force when it comes to money. Salke points out that in an often turbulent market, there is a barrage of yelling and screaming on shows on CNBC and in publications like the Wall Street Journal that make it difficult to know what do with your money.
There are numerous financial programs that can affect one’s decisions based on fears in the market.
“Do we run out and invest our money in the latest greatest investment tip being offered by the financial talking heads?” Salke asks.
Salke wants to help reframe people’s thinking to make them successful in attaining their goals.
“This will also help them ignore some of the turbulence,” he said.
Further, as an investment adviser, Salke understands that there is no crystal ball to predict the future.
“Whatever the apocalypse du jour is, with enough planning you can be prepared to deal with the situation and make sure there is enough emergency cash available to protect you and your family,” he said.
Salke suggests anywhere from three months to a year of emergency cash on hand to cover expenses.
He also recommends a computer-based software program such as Quicken or iBank to track finances.
“The key is to make sure that however you keep track of your financials, make it easy — otherwise it probably won’t happen,” he said. “It takes discipline to manage your money.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRUST
Dealing with people’s money is all about trust and confidence.
“Honest communication and transparency is critical to instill trust,” Salke said.
Salke is a fee-only advisor. He is compensated solely by his clients and does not accept compensation of any kind such as commissions, rebates, awards, finder’s fees or bonuses based on the products that he recommends.
Carter Kohlmeyer is a client of Evan Salke’s from the Sausalito area.
“Evan I went to Boston University together,” Kohlmeyer saod. “I knew how smart he was.”
Kolhmeyer hired Salke a year ago to help him and his wife build a solid financial plan.
“We close on our house next week, and Evan was instrumental in helping us,” Kolhmeyer said.
Much of Salke’s business also derives from referrals.
“It’s all about word of mouth … I want to help people to succeed,” he said.
Salke moved from Boston to the Tahoe area in 1990. He lives in Tahoe City with his wife of five years and two young daughters.
A lifelong skier, Salke also works as an avalanche forecaster at Alpine Meadows.
Priya Hutner is a freelance writer and can be reached at email@example.com.