Money saving tips from Alexandria finance advisers

Local finance advisers, Tim Urness John Severson and Stacey Doege, provide advice and services.

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ALEXANDRIA — With the cost of nearly everything seemingly rising by the week, it's not a bad bet to take what you can get when it comes to personal finance.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of economy-wide inflation, increased 7.7 % increase from October 2021 to October of 2022. Food prices increased by 10.9% in that same time frame.

The same data predicts food prices to continue rise even more in 2023 — anywhere from 3 to 4%. Slower but still above historical average rates.

With rising costs, investing could help secure a better financial future.

The Echo Press reached out to multiple finance advisers in the Alexandria area to see what their top tips for investing and growing income are.


Tim Urness and John Severson of Thrivent compiled a list of advice and Stacey Doege of Finances Made Simple, LLC provided some of the services the company provides for businesses.

From Thrivent:

  • Develop short and long-term goals and figure out how your beliefs and values guide your financial choices.

"You're more likely to stick to a plan and work towards your goals if you can tie it back to your 'why,'" said Urness and Severson.

  • Evaluate your finances. Where do they currently stand?

"To make wise investing decisions, it’s important to establish a comprehensive financial strategy first. Review it carefully and make sure it reflects your short and long-term goals in life," they added. "From there, put your investment objectives down on paper."

  • Set investment contributions on auto-pilot and make increases over time.

"Small increases over time can help move you closer to reaching your future goals," they said.

  • Patience is key.

"Once you’ve established that you’re in the right mix of investments and you’re putting enough away, be patient and maintain your asset allocation strategy for the long haul – or until you reach a point in your life when it makes sense to adjust your allocation," they said.

  • Diversity

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket... stocks and bonds don’t always move in step with each other, so losses in one asset class may be offset by gains (or less-severe losses) in the other," they said.
The last bit of advice Urness and Severson added is, when the market is down,"don't overreact" and "consider buying."

"When the market falls, any losses in your portfolio are only realized if you sell your holdings. The value of your investment may fluctuate over time, and you may gain or lose money. Evaluate whether it’s truly the right time to sell," they said. "As odd as it sounds, now may be the right time to buy. Think of it as a sale with prices discounted from the recent peak. Yes, prices may fall further, but if you’re investing for the long-term, this may be a good time to add to your portfolio."

When it comes to "what should I invest in?" Forbes broke it down for short-term and long-term investments.



  • Savings accounts with at least a 0.17% annual percentage yield (APY).
  • Cash Management Accounts with an APY of 0.25% to 1.25%.
  • Certificates of Deposit (CD) with an APY of 0.60%. CDs are time deposits where you commit your money for a given term and you get your money back plus interest when the CD matures, according to Forbes

Long term:

  • Tax-advantaged retirement accounts.
  • 529 plans.
  • Taxable brokerage account.

Back to business

Doege says she works with many businesses to help "reduce taxes and increase cash." And she does it with four strategies:

  • Health insurance costs as a business expense.
  • Employ your children and spouse.
  • Home office and heavy vehicle expenses.
  • Travel expenses.

"There are also tax saving opportunities with owner and employee retirement accounts and self-insurance," she said. "When you decide to sell your business. Or pass your business down to the next generation. These are all strategies allowed by the Internal Revenue Code."
Doege encourages those looking to develop tax strategies to reach out to her at Finances Made Simple.

Although the United States is ranked 112th in the world for highest inflation rates among 184 entries, according to, it is always a good idea to protect your finances as the future is always uncertain.

Thalen Zimmerman of Alexandria joined the Echo Press team as a full-time reporter in Aug. 2021, after graduating from Bemidji State University with a bachelor of science degree in mass communication in May of 2021.
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