IMG_4641It’s official. The Wolf of Wall Street has been named a finalist for Best Picture for this year’s Oscars. While Hollywood loves to hammer Wall Street, the Wolf is not about Wall Street. It is about a persuasive character’s vices and his eventual downfall. It has nothing to do with financial planning.

In any case, here are five tips to avoid the next “Wolf of Wall Street”.

1) Have simple criteria. When investing, always remember two things: be comfortable and be in control. Never be pressured into a deal that is “too good to be true”.
2) Think long term. Most planners are long-term thinkers. While capital market volatility may at times trigger some fast decision making, planners will typically not entice you with a “we need to move now” offering.
3) Research your planner. The CFP Board (CFP.Net) allows you to check out a CFP® Professional’s background. FINRA and the SEC also have search capabilities for registered participants. At a minimum make sure they are licensed. Registered Investment Advisors are legal fiduciaries and must provide a disclosure brochure. Be sure to read it. You can find a RIA at
4) Use a reputable custodian. Ultimately, your investments will be held in custody at some bank or trust company. A high quality custodian is not going to allow illicit shenanigans to be conducted on their platform. A good custodian may be your first line of defense.
5) Dead giveaway your planner is the next Wolf. His/her nickname is “Wolfie”. If that’s the case, hold on to your wallet!

In closing, see the movie. While it is disturbing and graphic, there are some great performances. Come Oscar night, I’m sure “the Wolf” will be a winner.

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