Turning your money into life-changing wealth requires planning… for both success and failure. It also requires competent counsel – meaning somebody who will act in your best interests.
But finding the right advisor is tough.
The Internet is filled with stories of predatory sales practices, manipulative management stories, and just plain incompetence. Chances are good you know somebody who's had a bad experience, just like I do.
It doesn't have to be that way, though.
There are great advisors out there if you know how to find them and which questions to ask to make sure you're on the right track for huge profits rather than devastating losses.
1) Do My Investments Match My Risk Tolerance and Expectations?
No doubt this will cause pushback from more than a few financial professionals. But I don't believe any investor needs to suffer the ravages of a bear market.
I don't care if you have $5,000 or $500,000 to invest – the principles remain the same.
No financial advisor worth his or her salt would let a client liquidate into a bear market. Moreover, the good ones ensure that their clients have enough cash and ultra-safe investments on hand so they don't have to.
If your advisor has you leveraged to the eyeballs, or fully invested in such a way that you can't endure bumpy market conditions or the possibility of a correction, much less a protracted downturn, it's time to find a new advisor.
I don't care if it's an up market or a down market, the best advisors will help you pick investments that match your goals within your financial time frame. They'll also help find a way to make recommendations for your unique situation because they place your interests first.
The problem faced by many investors today is that they've always thought in terms of returns rather than risks. That's backwards, especially at a time when the riskiest investments – bonds, for example – are the ones that were supposed to be the most secure.
This is compounded by the fact that many investors – having lost big twice in the last decade – remain underinvested and are faced with playing catchup in a market that is arguably toppish right now. They never should have stepped off the court in the first place.
As you know from prior columns, it pays to stay the course – meaning stick to your plan – no matter what the headlines.
In a study of 7.1 million retirement accounts, for example, Fidelity discovered that those who sold their stock mutual funds between October 2008 and March 2009 (the period of greatest volatility we've seen yet), more than 50% had not reinvested as of June 30, 2011.
On the other hand, those who stayed in the markets, and in stocks specifically, saw the value of their accounts rise 50% on average. Those who sat o…
About the Author
Keith Fitz-Gerald has been the Chief Investment Strategist for the Money Morning team since 2007. He's a seasoned market analyst with decades of experience, and a highly accurate track record. Keith regularly travels the world in search of investment opportunities others don't yet see or understand. In addition to heading The Money Map Report, Keith runs High Velocity Profits, which aims to get in, target gains, and get out clean. In his weekly Total Wealth, Keith has broken down his 30-plus years of success into three parts: Trends, Risk Assessment, and Tactics – meaning the exact techniques for making money. Sign up is free at totalwealthresearch.com.