Al Clark, State Farm Insurance

Financial Advisor

About the Expert

Over his 41 years as a top agent for State Farm, Al has made his mark in the company, in the lives of his clients, and in our community. Rookie of the Year his very first year, he’s placed number one out of 19,000 agents companywide and has been one of only three people who have earned Chairman’s Circle every year, including his wife Shalyn.


What’s a good age to start retirement planning? 

Start with your very first job. Set aside 10% of every paycheck for saving and investing. If there are two wage earners in the household, increase the savings percentage. Almost every financial planning course, financial planning book, and even the Bible says to save at least 10% for the future. As a teenager, I learned the rule of 72. An investment that returns an average of 12% will double every six years. 6 X 12 = 72. A 6% return will double every 12 years. If you have a 401K at work and they match your money, maximize that match. 100% return! Never remove your retirement money to purchase something.  Keep your retirement money protected. Build the nest egg and leverage your money by having a good financial statement. 

How do I pick the right retirement plan for me and my family? 

It depends on the opportunities available in your life. Mutual funds are a great way to save and invest. It’s important to take advantage of 401K, Roth IRA, traditional IRAs, and cash-value life insurance in combination with other investment opportunities. Pick the type of investment that fits your risk tolerance. If you have the talent and time, you can buy investment properties like rental homes and/or buildings that create income. Be sure to have six months to a year of liquid reserves to support your family. Avoid all get-rich schemes! Instead, associate with people leading successful financial lives. You need a plan and the discipline of saving and investing. 

Do you offer a way to help me save for my children’s college education? 

Yes, the IRS-qualified 529 plan is a good way to provide money for education. I’ve set up plans for my four grandchildren by gifting money into a mutual fund 529 plan designed to fit the needs and risk of each child. Although this plan can be used for elementary or secondary education, it works the best for college because the money has time to grow and compound. Start the plan the month the child is born—or earlier. You can gift as much as $15,000 per year per child or $75,000 as an advanced five-year gift, getting full advantage of time and money. 

Does my credit rating affect my insurance cost? 

A bad credit rating can negatively affect the cost of your insurance and the cost of any loans, including home, auto, and other loans. It’s free to keep track of your credit rating and keeping a high-quality credit rating is essential to your financial success. An experienced financial advisor can talk to you about this as well as things like combining home and auto insurance for substantial savings and saving up to 45% on car insurance by applying Drive Safe & Save on your vehicle just for being a better than average driver. It’s important to have an experienced financial advisor on your team to help you make these and other savvy financial decisions.  

Living Magazine - Ask the Expert


(817) 468-3033 

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