Investing is a minefield. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, thinking, “I will make the most significant money ever and throw caution to the wind.” But once that adrenaline hits, it can be hard to distinguish between potential scams and actual good investment opportunities.
Legit investing is no easier today than it was ten years ago. To stay ahead of the curve, check out these tips to ensure that you’re not investing in a scam or getting scammed before you invest.
Be an informed consumer
Before you sign up for any investment, make sure you’re aware of all of the risks associated with that investment. You want to be as informed as possible about the investment industry and all of the investments you are considering. You should know about pump and dump. What is pump and dump? Do some research and find out about that and other schemes out there.
There are plenty of resources available to help you out here. Start with this guide from The Wall Street Journal to learn more about spotting a scam and what to do if you think you’ve been scammed.
Read the fine print
Even if you’re aware of the risks, there may be some investments that you can’t be sure about. This might be the case with bonds and loans, where there’s no contract that you can read to see if you were promised something in return.
You also don’t know if any of the associated fees or interest rates will be fair or reasonable. That’s why it’s vital to read the fine print, whether it’s in an investment brochure or a contract you sign when investing.
You don’t have to read the entire contract to understand it. You can look at the key terms and conditions to get a sense of what’s going on. There are many resources to help you do this.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Asking questions isn’t just a good thing. It’s essential. It would help if you asked questions about everything. That includes the investment itself, the company you’re investing with, and the fees and returns you’re likely to receive.
You want to make sure that you aren’t being misled or taken advantage of. It’s important to be conscientious about your questions and be sure that you’re aware of all the facts before making a financial decision.
Confirm your investment goal
Once you’ve taken the plunge and invested some of your own money, you may want to research what other people are doing with their money. It’s a good idea to talk to other people who have invested in similar industries or projects to see their experiences and how they got on with their investments. Take the feedback you get from these discussions and use it as a guide to help you confirm your investment goal.
Are you looking to make a small return on your investment? Does it matter to you whether you make money from this investment? These questions will help you narrow down your search to a specific goal, making it easier to decide if it is a suitable investment.
Find reputable financial advisors
Once you’ve got a general sense of what kind of investments work and what ones do not, you want to find an advisor who you can trust to help you find the best possible investments for your money.
Look for an advisor to who you can talk without any predetermined boundaries. You don’t have to set up a 30-minute call with your advisor. Just spend a couple of minutes talking to them and seeing if they can help you find the best possible investments for your money. You can also rely on banks. However, in one instance, the framework for bank scam victims is taking longer than expected.
If you want to make sure you aren’t investing in a scam, you must talk to many financial advisors and pick the one you feel most comfortable with.
Stay on top of your investments
Even if you find an advisor on your side, you’ll likely make some mistakes. That’s why it’s essential to stay on top of your investments. For example, you should make sure that you include all of the correct paperwork when you’re investing. You should include your tax returns. Any documentation you have regarding your investments—a list of all the financial advisors you’ve chosen to work with.
You should also make sure that you’re not just staying in the money but also adding real value to your portfolio through your investments. This can be anything from investing in high-paying stocks to using your savings to buy a house or pay off some debt.
The investment industry can be a sketchy field. There’s a lot of push and pull with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the various state securities agencies. In this case, the push comes from investors who want reliable and trustworthy investment information, including recommendations on which investment vehicles might be best for them.
Read up on all of the different investment methods and find the one that speaks to you the most. Next, find an advisor you trust and who is on your side as you find your investment method.