Charlie Jordan (2015)

Charlie Jordan of Brightworth Private Wealth Counsel in Buckhead has been helping clients build for retirement for 15 years. “The hardest part is getting started,” he says. “Once you develop a savings discipline, the rest is easy.”

“Start with the ‘B’ word— budget,” he says. “Prepare a line item budget, and build in an amount for savings that is at least equal to your employer’s 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) matching funds.” If your company doesn’t offer one, put your savings on autopilot via payroll deduction. Just like a workout regimen, once you get into a rhythm, it’s easy to stay on track.

“What you invest in is less important than a savings routine,” Jordan says. Keep it simple, and begin with growth Index funds. They may fluctuate over time, but people in their 20s and 30s have years to recoup and surpass losses. In addition to routine savings, the key to a secure retirement is maintaining a moderate lifestyle during your working years. “Keeping up with the Joneses can lead to a train wreck. It’s extremely difficult to play catch-up in your 50s,” he says.

Avoid pitfalls such as selling when the market plummets or investing more than you can afford when it peaks. “You’d never put your house on the market when real estate values are down or buy when they are high. Why would you sell your assets when the market is down? Surround yourself with trusted advisors experienced in managing cash flow and follow their advice.”

Equally important: begin supporting your favorite nonprofits immediately. “One of the most rewarding aspects of wealth is being able to make an impact on others. By beginning early, it becomes a part of your lifestyle and that of your children,” Jordan says.

According to a recent Merrill Lynch study, people in lower income brackets donate more percentage-wise than those who are considered “wealthy.” Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) top the list by giving more time and money to charities than any other generation. Follow their lead.

For more information, contact Charlie Jordan at or visit

STORY: Mickey Goodman