April 2007

UBS - Making the Most of Your Money

Author: Linda S. Hopkins

“You are here!” Don’t you just love those maps with the big red arrow pinpointing your precise whereabouts? It’s always easier to decide which way to turn next when you know exactly where you are. It’s no different when you’re mapping your financial future: You have to know where you are and where you want to go before you can figure out how to get there. UBS Financial Services, Inc. can help you find your way.

“By taking inventory of where people are financially and where they want to be, we can take some of the mystery out of it,” said Marc Stuckart, Jr., Associate Director and Senior Vice President of the Hilton Head Island division of UBS. Many people are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of financial information available today, he explained. “It’s like a fire hose of information. If you need to get a drink of water from a fire hose, you can’t. We’re able to take the piece that makes a difference to you and deal with it.”

UBS advisors encourage people of all ages to begin mapping their financial future, pointing out that surprisingly small amounts of savings can add up to big gains over time. According to Account Vice President and Financial Advisor, David Ruckno, you should start thinking about retirement the day you go to work. “Accumulating wealth is so much easier when you’re young,” he said, citing the power of compounding. Ruckno has crunched the numbers. As the father of two-year-old twins, already saving for their college, he said, “Sixteen years from now, I’m not going to have to worry about where the money is coming from.”

Although UBS works with people of various income levels in all stages of their careers, their local client base is comprised mostly of retirees and professionals who have already achieved a degree of financial success. “People have done the hard work and earned the money. It’s our job to help them deploy it in the most effective way, consistent with their objectives and what makes them comfortable,” said Stuckart.

Many retirees worry about outliving their assets, and for good reason. In the case of a couple who has reached the age of 65, there is a 50 percent chance that one or the other will see age 95, according to Stuckart. “You figure you don’t have the ability to go back and make money,” he said. “Assets have to be deployed in a way that allows them to grow. We work off a process, taking a look at what people need their assets to do for them.”

According to the UBS philosophy, the key to success is asset allocation. “Everybody needs to have a recipe. And everybody’s recipe is a little bit different,” said Stuckart. “Through the interview process, we help you figure out which recipe makes the most sense for you and your family.”

Once you determine your course, it’s important to monitor it and adjust it regularly. Professional advisors recommend reviewing your financial plan on a quarterly basis, but at the very least, annually.

“You can’t just set something in place and figure 15 years from now it will still be working. You have to make adjustments,” said Ruckno. “Someone’s financial situation the day we meet them might be different a year later.”

Why financial planning is crucial today
According to Stuckart, there has been a fundamental shift in the last 15 years, making it substantially more important for people to take care of their own finances. “Our workforce is different now,” he said. “People are portable; they move from job to job,” he said, explaining that, for the most part, pensions have been replaced by 401 K plans. “Instead of it being a defined benefit, companies outline the contribution they will make on your behalf,” he said.

“A lot of people who have been very successful have retirement plans that are part of a company. When they retire, they are responsible for handling those assets. It can be overwhelming,” Stuckart continued. “These are intelligent people. They just need a little bit of guidance and insight.”

“Sometimes you can get all clouded up with facts and figures that don’t really help you achieve your goals,” said Ruckno. “What we’re doing isn’t rocket science, but we’re going to help people sleep better.”

What is UBS?
A publicly-traded company, UBS Financial Services, Inc. is a leading global wealth manager, top-tier investment banking and securities firm, and one of the largest global asset managers. With headquarters in Zurich and Basel, Switzerland, UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide, currently employing around 78,000 people.

According to Marc Stuckart, Jr., a former Marine Corps Captain who opened the local UBS branch in May of 2001, the initials UBS no longer stand for anything, unless you count his own interpretation: “More for U and less BS,” he said jokingly. The root comes from the Union Bank of Switzerland, but after many mergers, now UBS is its own brand, he explained.

Locally, UBS employs six financial advisors, each working independently of one another. Qualifications include a college degree along with specialized courses, extensive in-house training and continuing education. Advisors must undergo rigorous testing and must be licensed by the New York Stock Exchange as well as the state of South Carolina.

Words to the Wise: Free financial advice from the experts at UBS

Short of winning the state lottery or becoming the next American Idol, chances are you need to be concerned about your financial future. According to the experts at UBS, you’re never too young to start thinking about retirement. Here are some tips for securing your financial future:

1.Have a plan: Get professional advice and create a plan that will grow your assets to meet your present and future needs.

2.Allocate your assets: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. No one thing is the best thing. Because markets are always in flux, you want to have diversification.

3.Rebalance: Even when a certain segment performs well, it is important to continually rebalance. By doing so, you’re always selling high and buying low.

4.Stay consistent: Be disciplined and stick to the plan. If you make a mistake or take a small detour, stay the course and you will ultimately reach your financial goals.

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