A New World Ahead

A New World Ahead

Stacy Hall says it’s her time now. “I’ve just begun to really think about my future,” says Hall, 45, a divorced mother of grown children, ages 18 and 22, who are out of the house and self-sufficient. “Until now, I had to put all my energy into my family and my job-that was my priority.”

Her future looks promising. In 10 years, Hall sees herself retiring from her $70,000 a year job as a production-team member with Toyota, relocating from Georgetown, Kentucky, to perhaps North Carolina, to open a bed and breakfast or to buy a Victorian house and convert it into a coffeehouse.

“Where I live now, there isn’t a market for such a place,” says Hall. “I want a place where people can come and talk, relax, have dessert, and shop.”

Retirement is now on the horizon, and Hall has set 55 as her ideal age. She has developed some good financial habits that will help ensure her success once she defines her path. She has nearly $80,000 in her 401(k), more than $47,000 in a pension, $34,600 in a money market account, $1,500 in a CD, and $2,500 in a checking account. Although she admits to treating herself by purchasing a Coach handbag once a year at Christmas, Hall mostly shops at Wal-Mart or Marshall’s. Hall has managed to curb her extravagant spending . “I felt if I worked hard then I could have what I wanted,” she confesses.

Hall, who grew up poor and is motivated to stay ahead financially, now has a budget and sticks to it. “I have a notebook of my bills. I know what my electric bill is likely to be next month,” she says. Her credit card has about $500 on it and she typically pays off her debts in full each month. Hall owes less than $10,000 on her 2005 Camry and approximately $92,000 on the house she purchased in 2000 for $111,000, which is now worth $130,000.

So what stands between her and her dreams? Hall believes she has to go beyond saving and begin investing. “Investing intimidates me. I’m risk adverse. I don’t like to take chances,” she says.

She knows she could be growing the money in her money market account, which was originally intended to help fund her children’s education. But when both of her children decided that they didn’t want to go to college, Hall was left with a nice sum of cash that she can use toward retirement or starting her business.

Since she admits she knows little about investing or running a business, Hall knows she needs help so as not to squander her resources. “I should have gotten serious about investing a long time ago, but I also know it’s never too late. I want more out of life.”

The Advice
BLACK ENTERPRISE paired Hall with Kathleen Williams, president of Williams Financial Services Group in Oklahoma City. Hall has a lot working in her favor, says Williams. She has term life insurance, she controls her cash flow by paying off her