Securing Financial Future

Questions to Raise

When dealing with an investment broker, advisor, or agent, how certain questions are answered can point out reasons not to work with those individuals. For instance, asking them what methods of compensation they work with, fee-based, or commission, as such if they outright refuse to discuss or even hurry through their explanation, this gives just cause to walk away immediately. The thing to keep in mind is that as an investor, you are the boss, which means, that the adviser works for you and should be completely transparent about how they are compensated for their services.

Looking into this aspect further, if they receive payments via commissions from selling products they need to prove there is no conflict of interests. What may occur is they would try to entice an investor to spend money on something that provides a higher commission for them. This is one issue when dealing with brokers or advisers that work with third party entities. It is their intent, if they are legitimate to put their customers’ needs first. While most planners design their services to receive payment for advice it is best to keep control over the amount of money paid for a given financial plan. What should work is having a plan separated into smaller sections where the outcome is easily visible. This way it puts a limit on the amount of monies transferred into the financial plan for the onset instead of making a one-time larger investment on a plan that shows little to no gain.

Always Stay in the Loop

It will pay to stay on top of anything and everything an advisor is doing. Always make sure you understand any pros or cons about any type of suggested investments and ensure you keep a close eye on the ‘paper trail’ and that you scrutinize all billing statements and account balances they provide. Additionally, if these reports are received only from the advisor, ask why, there should be reports coming from other sources, such as the companies, mutual funds, or annuities that are part of your portfolio. If not, then something is being hidden from you.

As far as what they are suggesting what, in their minds, is a good investment, they should allow you plenty of time for you to research it on your own if you feel the need. Additionally, it helps for them to explain why, how and what makes their decision on a given investment viable for your portfolio. If they attempt any form of pressure this indicates there is something they are not telling you. The breakdown of your portfolio should be understandable in addition to the amount of fees that go for the advisor’s compensation in addition to where these fees are coming from.

Part of your discussion of an investment strategy should include real time information about the trades that occur germane to the management of your portfolio. This means that they disclose all gains and losses that impact the integrity of the investment fund.

It is a Case of Buyer Beware

Common sense dictates that when money is involved, it behooves us to investigate all avenues of a given situation before making any final decisions on where the money goes. The favorite targets for unscrupulous financial planners, brokers, or advisors are the elderly and the uninitiated to the investment markets. Therefore, never act on emailed investment options or those received through snail-mail, (your mailbox). Always ask probing questions into the reasons certain investments out weigh others, and always read any paperwork put in front of you before you sign it. Remember, investing in anything is risky and nothing is guaranteed specifically anything to do with mutual funds, stocks, bonds, annuities, or even real estate. Do your due diligence before hiring a financial planner, advisor or agent. It can save you money