Never ever get caught up or impressed with the “Madoff style garbage”, such as Country Clubs, exclusive addresses, and pictures on the walls with your prospective advisor glad-handing politicians and celebrities. Stay away from the windbag money managers and “financial advisors”-----there are plenty out there.
If you are fortunate enough to have accumulated money to invest, you better be darn sure you are not turning it over to a con-man/scam-artist. They are everywhere! Don’t be dazzled by slick-talk and glossy brochures or an expensive lunch---keep your eye on the ball---the safety of your “nest-egg”.
First---check all available credentials and records thoroughly.
Contact Government Agencies:
(check on licenses and disciplinary records of your proposed planner/advisor)
a) National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) -- 800-289-9999
b) Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) -- 800-732-0330
c) Certified Financial Planners-Board of Standards (CFP) -- 888-237-6275,
Get the names of clients and make sure the “client” is a legitimate “real” person or business. Telephone these references and courteously ask questions.
Ask Your Proposed Advisor the following questions:
a) Specifically what services they provide (ie: cash management, tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, recommendations for investing).
b) What Licenses they hold and their specific qualifications; and in which State are they licensed?
c) What type of investments are they licensed to offer?
d) How will the planner/advisor prepare your financial plan and will it be in writing? Does the planner/advisor set goals?
e) What continued and ongoing services will you receive? --- Such as financial products, research, analysis of your financial situation and recommendations.
f) Does the planner/advisor take possession of your assets or have access to them via any form of Power of Attorney over your assets?
g) What are their other clients like, and how have their investments performed over the past one, five, ten years?
h) Most significant, ask how the advisor/planner is to be paid, and how all such compensation is calculated. Is it an hourly rate, flat fee, percentage of assets, commissions, etc.
Always Be Sure to Obtain a Written Fee Schedule and Remember:
When it comes to handing your nest egg over to anyone---you must be very, very careful! Look what Bernie Madoff did. Although the Madoff numbers are astronomical --- scams at every level go on all the time. Only a few years ago, a bunch of celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprIo, were scammed for millions of dollars by a sweet-talking yet a phony/scam-artist supposed “Advisor”. The selection of a Financial Advisor is really difficult. Many banks and brokers offer these or similar services, but most of their personnel’s qualifications are marginal. Again, you must use your instincts.
Scamraiders suggests that you get recommendations from your accountant and/or lawyer and you do your own legwork. But be careful. DO NOT GIVE A STRANGER YOUR POWER OF ATTORNEY, OR CONTROL OF YOUR MONEY. If you are finally satisfied with who you choose to hire, do so; but YOU control the account---at least until you are fully comfortable and feel confident, safe and secure. If you plan to “put your eggs in one basket”, as one great money-man said, “watch the basket very very carefully!”
NEVER become complacent--- that is how Madoff made off with billions! Again remember---“IF IT IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS”---ALWAYS!
PS: If you are a senior citizen take a look at AARP Financial Inc. At least, this Program seems safe---- as best it can be in the volatile economic times we now live. STAY ALERT---PLEASE.