investing

5 financial terms not to take for granted

Flexible
Flexible © DNF Style/Shutterstock.com

Gymnasts and acrobats are definitely flexible, but flexible investment products may not bend as easily as investors may think. Evaluating the true flexibility of dates, dollars, rates and fees is an important part of agreeing to the terms of any contract. Hebeler has read his fair share of agreements purported to be flexible and asks, "Flexible for whom? It's usually a one-way street for the company offering the product, where they have all the flexibility to make changes while the investor does not."

"Flexibility usually comes with a cost," says retirement coach Christine Moriarty. The cost can affect overall investment performance or penalize investors who have income or emergency funding needs that don't coincide with the contract terms, anniversary dates or exceed annual withdrawal limits.

"Make sure the contract really meets your needs," says Moriarty, "that you aren't being told only what you want to hear and you're not being sold the product of the month."

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