13+ Things Your Financial Adviser Won’t Tell You

Financial advisers share some of the secrets of the trade.

Interviews by Michelle Crouch from Reader's Digest | May 2010
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    1. Certified financial planners and NAPFA-registered financial advisers take a pledge to put their clients' interests ahead of their own, but traditional stockbrokers aren't held to the same standard, even if they've given themselves the title “financial adviser.”


    2. Do some digging before you hand me the keys to your future. Use BrokerCheck at finra.org to see if I've been in trouble.

    3. If I work on commission, I typically make money whenever you buy a new product, and I've probably got monthly quotas to meet. That's why I always seem to call with something to purchase at the end of the month.

    4. I may have other incentives to get you to buy. If I sell to enough people, I could win a trip to the Caribbean, a new laptop, or a big bonus. (The guys behind the product may also have bought my dinner at Morton's last week and sponsored our corporate golf tournament.)

    5. Before buying a mutual fund with a load, see if there is a better option. For every fund that has one of these sales charges, there's usually a similar one that doesn't.

    6. Be careful with annuities. They pay me big commissions, but they're not a good fit for many clients.

    7. Stay away from investments that have a fee to get back out. If you get married, get divorced, change jobs, or move, it can come back to bite you.

    8. There have been ten recessions since 1953. I have no clue where the market is going, and neither does anyone else. So if someone promises a certain amount of growth, walk away.

    9. You're spending way too much. But I'm not going to be the one to tell you to give up your cleaning lady or your fancy car-or me.

    10. Some of us can give discounts, but you may not get one if you don't ask.

    11. Haven't heard from me in a while? Not a good sign. I don't like to be the bearer of bad news.

    12. Everyone wants no fees, no risk, double-digit returns. I want a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    13. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


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