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CHAPTER 1

now. Plus, if you had known then what you know now (i.e., when to buy and sellYahoo! or Microsoft), would you have done what it takes to become rich off the stock market? Probably not. Buying low and selling high go against human nature. Just ask the man who bought Yahoo! at more than $150 per share and watched the share price plummet to around $12 per share. The meteoric rise of the stock mar- ket in the 1990s was an abnormality. Will the stock market continue to go up? Sure, historically speaking over the long term it will. (See Figure 1.1) But the markets will continue to rise and fall all the time. Will it skyrocket the way it did in the 90s? No one can say. Investors today are smarter, younger, and have more time to wait to make the returns they want. For those who are trying to make their first or their umpteenth million, today’s market serves as a lesson of hurry up and wait. This is a road that the average investor just shouldn’t travel alone. Here’s the first secret that many wealthy people know: Hire a financial advisor to do some of the worrying for you.

WHAT IS A FINANCIAL ADVISOR,AND DOYOU NEED ONE?

“A financial advisor? I don’t need one. My cousin Tony is a whiz with investments and finances.” If this is something you find yourself say- ing, stop. Unless your cousin Tony has taken classes and passed com- prehensive exams, like the CFP™ boards, and works as a financial advisor, chances are you don’t want to trust your retirement to him.

Cousin Tony is probably not going to be able to help you decide if you need to invest in a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. Nor will he be able to advise you on what the possible benefits of investing in an annuity would be for you. The best answers to these questions, and others like them, come in the form of a financial advisor.

A financial advisor is there to keep you educated and invested for the long term when the market goes down, as well as when decisions are to be made. Put simply, he can be your best friend. Financial advi- sors, or planners, work with clients to find the best fit between the client and different investment vehicles. Some advisors are affiliated with national firms, while others work as independents.

The last time you paid your car insurance, did your insurance agent offer you the chance to purchase a Roth IRA through him?

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