As economy brightens, local pro suggests investing diversity

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Even though there have been several encouraging signs for the U.S. economy in the past few months, financial planner Jan Spielman is giving her clients the same advice as 12 months ago: invest, invest and diversify those investments.

Spielman, who has worked at the Storm Lake branch of American Express Financial Advisors for nine years, said consultants are trying to keep clients focused on long-term objectives as opposed to short-term goals predicated on the status of the economy.

"We're saying the same things now that we did six or 12 months ago," Spielman said. "We encourage people to invest and to diversify when they are investing. We have done some rebalancing of some client assets, but the principles of our advice have generally stayed the same for a long time."

Despite the recent recession, Spielman said the confidence level at American Express has remained fairly high, and will likely stay that way if the economy continues to show signs of improvement.

"We haven't had one person who has cashed out during this entire time, and we have about 500 people who come to us, so that is a good sign," Spielman said. "I think that shows that people know that the economy works in cycles, and that everything will rebound eventually. They just don't know when that rebound will take place."

Spielman said the volatility in the stock market should also not deter people wishing to invest in that arena.

"We encourage people to invest in the stock market," Spieleman said. "We don't know whether the market will be up or be down, so we're not guaranteeing anything, but over the long haul, which is what we're focusing on, stocks will go in cycles just like the overall economy. If it is down now, it will probably go up in the future."

In short, Spielman said the biggest objective for investors is to make sure they have a wide range of assets in their portfolios and do not put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket

"Just because you're using several different companies doesn't necessarily mean that you're diversifying," Spielman said. "Do you have some large company, small company and international assets in your portfolio? Are they from different types or genres of companies? Those are the type of portfolios that we encourage people to have."