1. If you ask me, ‘How are you getting paid?’ And I say, “Don’t worry about that. My company pays me,” that’s not a good sign.
2. Sure, I can help you buy 100 shares of IBM. But why pay me, when you can do it on E*Trade for less than you’d pay for a large pizza?
3. You pay a carpenter to redo your kitchen. You pay a plumber to fix your toilet and a tutor to help your kid get into college. Yet when it comes to the most important area of your life—your financial future—suddenly you think you’re qualified for a do-it-yourself project?
4. We’ve all heard it a thousand times: buy low and sell high. But when the stock market was at historic lows last year, none of you would put your money in.
5. I am your inside source. If you’re getting your stock tips from Jim Cramer’s Mad Money and CNBC, you’re waaaay late.
6. I am not a marriage counselor. I’d rather not work out some argument you two are having over whether you can afford a 52-inch flat screen.
7. You’re paying me for financial advice. Please come to me before you invest a bunch of money in something you don’t understand. I had a client last year who put $80,000 in a currency trading investment that was supposed to pay him $4,000 a month. Of course it was a Ponzi scheme that stopped paying after three months. If he had asked me up front, I could have told him it wasn’t legit.
8. Some people say you need at least five times your income. But this will vary depending on how much you earn, your family’s living expenses and other variables. Check out the How Much Life Insurance Do I Need? Calculator at bankrate.com.
9. Paying off your mortgage may be a great idea. But I’d rather get paid to manage that money for you.
10. Despite what you’ve read about Bernie Madoff, I am not going to steal your money. Frankly, you just don’t have enough. If I was going to risk my entire career and life, you’d need to have $100 million, not $500,000.