Poor Returns? Some torture their financial adviser

Print Friendly

The Hamilton Spectator published a story titled, Retirees torture financial adviser.

A group of pensioners in Germany kidnapped and tortured a financial adviser who lost $3.8 million of their savings. …

The 56-year-old said he was burned with cigarettes, beaten, had ribs broken, was hit with a chair leg and chained up “like an animal.”

The incident began on June 16 when Amburn, the head of an investment firm called Digitalglobalnet, was allegedly attacked by two men aged 74 and 60.  Another couple, retired doctors 63 and 66, later arrived to join in the torture.

Talk about gerontology out of control!  The financial adviser was rescued after writing a message on a fax sent to a bank (to transfer funds).         Photo by Webb Zahn

Here is what I don’t know:  did the adviser misrepresent his investments, did he unlawfully use the funds, did he invest without the consent of his clients?  I am proceeding in this post with the ‘innocent until proven guilty” approach.  I am assuming this guy bore the brunt of a lot of anger from some folks who lost money in the market.

Any lessons for us?

  1. Remember she is the adviser and you are the investor.  I have previously mentioned that too often we think of financial advisers as football running backs – just give them the ball and hope they make as many yards a possible.  Financially, we tell our advisers to do whatever they think is best and hope to get the best returns possible.
  2. Take responsibility for your actions. Those in the investment field have received much negative feedback as the markets declined.  “Why didn’t you warn me?”  “Why didn’t you move me out of stocks?”  You are the investor and you are responsible for the investment results.
  3. Remember your investment adviser is not necessarily smarter than you, nor is he infallible.  What most investment professionals have is resources, experience, and time.  They do not have a crystal ball.  Said another way, know the limitations of your adviser.
  4. Do not judge investment choices by what could have or should have happened.  Do what is right for you, when it is right for you.  The markets are not there for your convenience.  Invest when it is right for you and don’t when it’s not.  Personally, I would suggest the right time is when you are debt free and do not need the money for at least five years.
  5. Past returns are never an indication of future returns. Investing involves risk.  Invest according to your personal situation.  Take the right amount of risk for your current position.  Expect returns in line with your risk.
  6. Develop and know your personal investment goals.  There are no one-size fits all investments.  You can read about how to personalize your investment plan here.
  7. If you don’t like your adviser, remember he works for you.  I’m not saying there is no such thing as a bad financial adviser.  Just be sure you don’t blame a good one for something outside her control.  Here’s why I fired my financial adviser.

Some Christians ask, when do I know if my money is my treasure (Matthew 6:21)?  This article provides one simple and definitive indicator – if you are willing to torture someone just because you think they lost your money!

And finally one lesson for personal finace writers. A financial disclaimer  is a good idea.  Mine can be found here.  If you are not happy with the advice I give you are welcome to: not accept it, stop reading, leave a comment, or even send me an email with your concerns.  You are not, however, permitted to torture me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *