Investing Without FearMar 13, 2020
Checking Out Your Financial Advisor
Q: I’m reaching the point financially where I am considering making some investments. However, I’m struggling to jump into investing as I’m afraid to trust financial advisors.
I’d rather have my money in my local bank account than have it end up in the pockets of the next Bernie Madoff. How can I get over these fears of investing once and for all?
A: You’re wise to be concerned about investing your money, particularly when you’re unfamiliar with the type of financial guide you’ll be using. But there are some steps you can take to safeguard your money.
Use these points as a checklist to protect your investments:
- Use word-of-mouth recommendations for financial advisors. If you know someone who’s had the same broker for 10+ years, ask your friend how he feels about his broker. A happy customer can be a good first step in narrowing down your field of possible advisors. However, you’ll still want to complete the following steps before deciding on the broker.
Michelle's Note: Personally, I don't use a broker. Robert Kiyosaki used to say that the reason they call them brokers is that they are "broker" than you. Instead, I found a group whose advice I respect, Stansberry Research. I am a lifetime member in all of their portfolios. They do all the research and I do all my own investing based on that research. They have a great track record and put out some great information in the form of newsletters. I get nothing for recommending them but I do. You can find out more about them at StansberryResearch.com.
- Prepare to spend some time investigating matters that pertain to your money. Investing your time and effort upfront will save you plenty of woes in the end.
- Do your homework. Find out everything possible about the brokerage firm or group (like Stansberry Research) you’re planning to use. Read about them on the internet and look them up on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, FINRA’s Broker Check program.
- Complete more homework. It’s wise to ensure that the advisor or planner you’re considering is who and what you think he is. Look up his name at the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure Program operated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC. You’ll know for sure whether he’s reputable and has the training you desire.
- Understand differences in credentials. Look up professionals’ designations at the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website or obtain this information from your state’s security regulators. Get a general idea of the differences among the designations.
- Familiarize yourself with the US SEC’s website. This website provides a wealth of practical information to help you protect your investments.
- Access Advice IQ online. This new service conducts checks of financial agents using all US regulatory systems and can find out the scoop for you on any type of broker.
Interestingly, Advice IQ’s CEO mentioned in an interview that had anyone checked Bernie Madoff’s credentials through these avenues, they would have discovered he’d been charged and fined twice by FINRA for not complying with the SEC’s rule of complete disclosure of material data relating to transaction details in trading securities. That's strange that no one ever looked him up.
So, although it will take a bit of time, you can invest without fear of losing your money to unscrupulous people. I suggest YOU control your money and never allow someone else to direct it for you. Self-Directed IRAs with companies like Equity Trust, allow YOU to make your own financial decisions and give you the legal guidelines to follow so you don't put your retirement in jeopardy.
If you're looking to trade stocks, open an Ameritrade account or the like. You don't need a company to direct your money unless you're lazy. And if you're lazy, then you deserve to lose money. Being lazy is not caring and you better care about your money and where it goes. Late-night TV hosts aren't going to pay for your retirement. Turn off the tube and open a book. Act how real investors act. They do their own research and make their own choices. Stansberry makes it extremely easy for me because they do all the hard lifting. I pay for their research but it's worth it.
Follow the above steps to invest your dollars wisely and safely!
Now go and grow!
Michelle R Russell
© The Prosperity Process, LLC
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