Stranger danger! There are a host of hooligans that prey on the innocent, the indignant and impaired in the geriatric community. Many dress in suits. Some are great conversationalists for the lonely. A few are just plain thieves. Some estimates put senior losses at 36 billion a year.
Fiduciary felons dress for success. The have a command of financial terms and sound like an MBA. Their demeanor is very professional and conveys a genuine concern for their prospects and clients. But there is larceny in their hearts. And if you can fake sincerity, you can fake anything. You need to go through a discovery process that will help you weed out the…well, weeds! Better review Broker Check and/or the Department of Insurance for their history for starters. Ask for three non-relative references. Carefully examine their LinkedIn bio and learn to read between the lines. Many subconsciously tip their intentions cloaked in the language of honesty. Too much sincerity may turn out to be a form of reverse psychology
Telephone scams are extremely creative using endearing conversations that target lonely seniors. Having a senior moment is now defined by letting your guard down. Never ever give any personal information to anyone over the phone and for that matter online as well. Until proven otherwise, all advisers are scammers.
Gamers understand regulation, tax code, product benefits and how they all correlate to each other. They know how to game the system and gain access to your money through the promise of outlandish advantages and big time benefits that sound too good to be true. Never make decisions without your direct beneficiaries present or consulted.
Schemers love to promote the shiny new object to turn focus off your retirement plan and aim at their product at the exclusion of everything you’ve done to create a good retirement lifestyle. One ad touted a precious metal that could exceed all investment expectations and it was available for your IRA. It sounds good… a great return and a tax deduction, but that’s not the whole story.
Single shingle sellers push one product line to the exclusion of everything else. Some insurance agents sell annuities because they’re not security licensed. But to hear them tell it, annuities are the only game in town. Many financial advisers don’t like annuities. Not because they’re a bad deal, but because they lose assets under management, i.e. a loss of revenue. Then there is the adviser who sells only one family of mutual funds. The fund returns are average with average risk and average fund costs. But soft dollars for marketing and advertising may be the inducement to use that product for the adviser, rather than suitability for the client. Look for client centric advisers who are product agnostic, who perform product suitability and risk tolerance tests to custom design portfolios and plans to accomplish the client’s financial goals. Bottom line, be on guard. Qualify your financial adviser and/or insurance agent through a gauntlet of tough interview questions. It’s your money and your lifestyle. Be vigilant 24/7.