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Wes Moss: Financial Expert Profile

Wes Moss has spent his career helping people to retire as soon as possible and as happily as possible. As a certified financial planner, Moss has experience showing people ways to reach their financial goals. He has also worked with people of all levels to help create them create retirement plans.

Top Financial Advice From Wes Moss

As you start planning for retirement, there is one rule-of-thumb that Moss says you shouldn’t follow. In his book, “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” Moss talks about the rule of keeping your rent/mortgage payments to 30% of your monthly income. He advises people to keep their payments even lower than that. Moss says that keeping your mortgage to 30% of your monthly income is the equivalent of doing just enough to get by. If you truly want to build savings, he recommends keeping your mortgage payments in the 10% to 15% range.

Keeping your mortgage or rent payments low will also help with his advice of saving 20% of your income each year. Now 20% may sound like a lot. But in his book, Moss says it’s necessary if you want to retire early. Some people recommend that you save 10% of your income. Moss thinks that’s a great way to start but he says it’s not enough.

Another important idea that Moss talks about on his show and in his books is building multiple streams of income. Moss surveyed over 1,350 retirees before writing “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” and found that the vast majority of happy retirees have two or three sources of income in retirement. On the other hand, unhappy retirees were most likely to have only one source of income.

There are a few ways that Moss recommends creating sources of income. One way is with a simple retirement account. If your employer offers a 401(k), Moss recommends contributing to it. The sooner you start contributing, the more you’ll earn. If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k), open an individual retirement account (IRA). When it comes to retirement accounts, Moss gets a lot of questions about how much someone should have saved in their accounts for retirement. To answer that question and help his CIA clients, Moss came up with the $1,000-a-month rule.

The rule says that every $240,000 you have in retirement savings will translate to about $1,000 per month in retirement (assuming a withdrawal rate of 5% per year). Of course, this is just a rule-of-thumb and you may need more or less depending on when you retire and how much money you withdraw each year. However, Moss likes the $1,000-a-month rule because it helps people to quickly get an idea for how far their retirement savings will go.

In his book, Moss also recommends investing in real estate to create another source of income for yourself. This may sound intimidating to some people so he says to start small. He tells people to aim for something in the $100,000 range like a small home, ranch or condo. Once you pay off that mortgage you’ll have an asset that you can earn money from each year.

A Brief Bio of Wes Moss

Wes Moss: Financial Expert Profile

Wes Moss was born in 1976 in Pennsylvania. He earned a degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He started his career as a financial advisor for Prudential Securities. Then he moved to UBS Financial Services to serve as Vice President – Investments. At this time he also became a certified financial planner (CFP). In 2004, Moss was a contestant in season 2 of “The Apprentice.”

In 2009, Moss joined forces with Capital Investment Advisors (CIA). He now serves as chief investment strategist at CIA. CIA manages more than $1 billion in client assets. Moss is also a partner at Wela, which is a digital advisory service that offers free financial management tools to clients.

Wes Moss contributes to or hosts a number of programs and shows. He is the host of “Money Matters,” a radio show in Atlanta, Georgia. “Money Matters” bills itself as the country’s longest-running live call-in, investment and personal finance radio show. Previously, Moss was the host of “Atlanta Tech Edge,” a TV program where he covered technology business in Atlanta. He contributes regularly to the website of fellow Atlantan, Clark Howard. He has also written three books on the topic finance.

Financial Focus and Philosophy

Wes Moss is all about retirement. He is a CFP and has worked his entire career helping people to retire early and comfortably. His advice is directed mostly at people who are in their prime working years, but he has advised people at all stages of life.

Moss is also very interested in the idea of happiness. Not many financial planners or advisors talk about happiness. They focus strictly on building wealth or reaching certain dollar values. Moss thinks this is the wrong approach. As he explains in his book, “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” he believes happiness is a vital part of planning and saving for retirement.

Where You Can Find Wes Moss

Moss is the host of “Money Matters With Wes Moss,” a weekly radio show that offers financial advice. Listeners can also call in to the show and have their questions answered live. The show airs for two hours every Sunday morning.

You can get Moss’ financial advice in his podcast, “Money Matters With Wes Moss.” Episodes are about 30 minutes long and cover many of the same topics as his radio show.

Recent Projects

Wes Moss released his latest book, “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” in 2014. The book provides a retirement guide to help people retire happily.

The book developed in response to the question of whether or not money can buy you happiness in retirement. To answer that question, Moss conducted an online survey with more than 1,350 retirees across the U.S. He asked them more than three dozen questions on a variety of topics. Then he combined the findings from this study with everything he has learned through his career about retiring early and comfortably.

The Takeaway

Wes Moss: Financial Expert Profile

Wes Moss works hard to help people meet their retirement goals. This has been the focus of his career and his latest book also digs deep into the subject. For Moss, it isn’t just about the financial numbers though. He believes that the key to a good retirement is understanding what makes people happy. This isn’t very common for financial planners (Moss is a CFP). So if you’re looking for a way to create a solid retirement plan while also having the happiest retirement possible, you should look at Wes Moss’ work. His latest book, “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” is particularly focused on happiness.

Tips to Help You Have a Happy Retirement

  • Wes Moss found in his book “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” that people generally got happier as they approached a certain net worth. Once they crossed that net worth, additional wealth didn’t increase their happiness. So instead of trying to get as wealthy as possible, he recommends creating a savings plan that will help you build wealth to the level where you can comfortably live the kind of retirement you want to live.
  • Wes Moss advises people save 20% of their income each year. This will sound like a high number to many people but he believes it’s necessary for retiring at a young age. One tool that can help you save that money is a budget. A budget will help you prioritize your spending so that you can put your money toward the things you care about. If your goal is to save 20% of your income, you might want to consider a simple budget plan like the 50/30/20 budget plan. You should always customize your budget to your specific needs, but this plan would give you a good place to start.
  • Another good way to ensure you’re on track for a happy retirement is to work with a financial planner like Wes Moss, who is a certified financial planner (CFP). A matching tool like SmartAsset’s can help you find an advisor to work with to meet your needs. First you answer a series of questions about your financial situation and your goals. Then the program matches you with up to three advisors in your area. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while doing much of the hard work for you.

Photo credit: First and third images of Wes Moss courtesy of Capital Investment Advisors, second image is from WesMoss.com

Derek Silva, CEPF® Derek Silva is determined to make personal finance accessible to everyone. He writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset, serving as a retirement and credit card expert. Derek is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®). He has a degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has spent time as an English language teacher in the Portuguese autonomous region of the Azores. The message Derek hopes people take away from his writing is, “Don’t forget that money is just a tool to help you reach your goals and live the lifestyle you want.”
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