For Mark Roberts’ Use: According to a study by FINRA Investor Education Foundation, 84 percent of Americans aged 40 and older have been solicited to participate in what appeared to be a fraudulent money scam. Unfortunately, 11 percent reported that they lost money this way. Scammers love to target people as they are approaching retirement, because it’s at this time that we are focused on growing our nest eggs and feel a sense of urgency.

Although some scams are seemingly easy to detect, many are more ambiguous. In a study of questionable sales pitches, FINRA found that

  • 30 percent of respondents reacted positively to the statement that “this investment has made hundreds of people extremely wealthy”
  • 42 percent reacted positively to the statement that “the lowest return you could possibly get on this investment is 50 percent annually, but most investors are making upwards of 110 percent per year”
  • 43 percent reacted positively to the statement that “there is no way to lose on this investment; it’s fully guaranteed”

Yikes! Those are some fairly shady statements; not to mention they set forth expectations that are generally unrealistic in the investment world. And yet people who are optimistically hoping for a grand return on their money tend to buy into them!

When approached about any investment scheme, follow these four principles to protect yourself from trouble:

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Except in very rare and lucky occurrences, there is no such thing as a large return on an investment in a short amount of time.

Never send money or give out your bank account information based on promises. Demand evidence first.

Just because something looks official, doesn’t mean that it is. Many scammers operate by making phone calls, sending official-looking letters, or even directing you to a website that appears authentic. When in doubt, contact the supposed source yourself, to verify the authenticity of the communication.

Question everything. These days, a healthy dose of skepticism can really pay off. Question everything you are told, and when in doubt you can always seek an outside opinion.

If you’re worried about your retirement plan, and are looking for other ways to increase the size of your next egg, contact our office for an appointment. We can help you sort through your retirement planning options and concoct a realistic plan for financial success.