It can be tough to sift the good investment advice from the bad.
Because of that, consumers are often at the mercy of professionals -- or victims of their own greed.
"I don't care if it's cousin Billy Bob or a well-intentioned insurance agent, they're giving you advice on products or subject matter that they are either not licensed for or they don't understand," says Chris Ravsten, Certified Financial Planner, principal and founder of Foxstone Financial Group in Denver.
How to recover: Sometimes moving on is the best way to recover. That, and accepting the situation as a painful learning experience, though it's hoped not a terribly expensive one.
But for the future, be aware of who is giving you investment advice, what they are licensed to sell, what products their firm sells and how they get paid.
"The simple litmus test is to make sure their firm has a full range of products and services and they are licensed to sell a full range of services and products. Not just one product," says Ravsten.
The Securities and Exchange Commission offers some recommendations for investigating brokers and investment advisers.