Bad Money Moves to Avoid

What are truly the very worst investments and financial products you can buy with your money? Those things that when all things are considered provide you the lowest chance for profit. 

According to the AARP, they include five primary types: alternative investments, time-shares, equity-indexed annuities, private and non-traded REITs, and oil drilling partnerships. You can read why each are to be avoided right here. To that list I would add most permanent (whole, universal, variable) life insurance policies, deferred annuities and non-publicly traded partnerships. 
In that same article, AARP also provided five clues to watch for to tell you when something isn’t right about an investment that is being sold to you. These are all good things to watch for:
1. An impossible promise: There’s no such thing as high returns with little or no risk. The best opportunities typically go to institutional investors: it’s much easier to raise money from a few big fish than to solicit thousands of small fry.
2. Complex terms: Perhaps the offer comes with hundreds of pages of technical and legal disclosure, and you’re required to sign a document saying you read and understood it all. Good investments are easy to grasp. My rule is never to buy anything I couldn’t explain to an 8-year-old. Ask yourself: would they write hundreds of (legal) pages to protect you or themselves?
3. A ticking clock: If you hear that this investment opportunity is available only for a short time, it’s the reddest of flags. The salesperson doesn’t want you to think it over or ask others for their opinion. Run, don’t walk away from these investments.
4. Fancy language: That would be words such as “structured,” “managed,” “deferred,” “derivative,” “collateralized” and even “guaranteed.” Of course, there is nothing wrong with an FDIC guarantee on your CD. But leaving cash at a bank or brokerage firm is a bad investment if you are earning 3 percent or less: you’re losing ground to inflation. A higher-paying CD is a better option if you’re not willing to take risk with your money.
5. A stranger calls: Be very careful of accepting a free-lunch “educational seminar.” I have yet to meet someone unknown to me who truly wanted to and could make me rich. Someone once said that you truly can’t afford “free”, and I have come to believe it.
Millions of investors fall prey to bad investments usually out of fear or ignorance. In addition, no matter how smart you may be or how much experience you have, studies also show that all of us can be very gullible and blinded by our greed.

Nevertheless, knowing what to avoid is an important part of being successful with investing and managing risk. Most of the time, anything sold to you by others as terrific alternatives to equities and fixed income, especially those with lots of hype, complexity and outrageous fees, must be avoided. Eliminating these bad investments from your consideration and portfolios is a must if you desire to give yourself the best chance for long-term investing and financial success.

If you have any questions about any investments or insurance products you might be considering, please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our web site at As a fee-only fiduciary financial planning firm, we always put your interests first, and there’s never a charge for an initial consultation.



The Kirk Report

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