All advisers are the same
The combination of complicated investment products and your life savings should put all investors on high alert.
"In the investment world, most people can do a lot of the same things. But the biggest (difference) is the suitability and fiduciary issue," says Robert Laura, president of Synergos Financial Group in Brighton, Michigan.
In a nutshell, brokers are held to suitability standards for determining whether they can sell a particular investment to a client. They look at variables such as income, time horizon and risk tolerance.
Investment advisers who call themselves fiduciaries are held to a higher standard than simply suitability. Fiduciaries must legally act in the best interests of their clients.
Investors should feel 100 percent confident that their adviser has their best interests in mind and not the mortgage payment coming due at the end of the month.
That doesn't mean that a fiduciary won't make poor decisions or maybe even be out to swindle you. Bankrate's article on finding a financial planner can help you sort out the various credentials. Be sure to get the answers to some important questions before hiring an adviser.