Every investor should be proactive in protecting their financial security. Many would argue that organizations such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Regulatory Association (FINRA) have recently focused more on protecting the investment industry rather than protecting investors’ rights and interests.
With that in mind, here are five numbers you should know and remember:
1. “0” – the number of variable annuities and indexed annuities an investor should own. The excessive fees, the methodology used by most annuity issuers in determining such fees, and the limited investment options presented by most variable annuities are simply not in an investor’s best interests.
2. “17” – the reduction in an investor’s end return over a twenty year period by each additional 1 percent in fees and other expenses. With variable annuities often charging cumulative annual fees of 3 percent or more, an investor could lose more than half of their return over twenty years.
3. “75” – the percentage of investor portfolios that were found to be inconsistent with their financial needs and goals, according to a study by Schwab Institutional. One industry leader’s response – “We’ve always known it.”
“75” – the percentage of stocks that follow the general trend of the stock market. Despite what financial advisors may claim, it is actually relatively easy to make money in bullish stock markets. This leading to two familiar quotes regarding investment “genius” – “Don’t confuse brains with a bull market” and Sir John Templeton’s observation that “Financial genius is a rising stock market.”
4. “90” – the R-squared score that investors should use to avoid “closet index” funds, high priced actively managed mutual funds whose performance basically tracks the performance of less expensive index mutual funds.
5. “96” – the percentage of those holding themselves as wealth managers who are actually nothing more than investment product salesmen, according to a study done by CEG Worldwide.
The simple use of these five numbers can help proactive investors spot potentially abuse practices by financial advisors to better protect their financial security.
To learn more about James Watkins, visit him at InvestSense.