Trust but verify with Winnow

Not your broker? Really? Believing that, because you are smart, you can discern every essential fact from a presentation carefully designed to hide some of them, delivered by a person specially trained to gain your trust, is like believing you can hit a major league fastball because you are a baseball fan. It's important to trust, but verify.

"Nothing is more true because it is elegant." — St. Augustine, Confessions

Saint Augustine’s words are as relevant today as they were 16 centuries ago. Your broker is persuasive. He is friendly, personable, funny, knowledgeable, considerate, successful, charismatic, and interested in your family. He is the kind of guy you’d like to hang around with outside the office. Of course he is. He’s a salesman. He is good at it because his livelihood depends on it. But, has he told you that he gets paid more for selling you certain kinds of investments? He does.

Has he told you about the incentive trips he earns by reaching a certain level of sales in a quarter or a year? Do you know how many previous customers have accused him of being reckless with their retirement money? As St. Augustine knew, charisma is no predictor of character.

"Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." — Proverbs 16:18

In his time at the SEC, IW’s founder saw all manner of investors fall victim to fraudulent investments or reckless brokers. Accountants, Actors, Astronauts, Business Owners, Doctors, Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Factory Workers, Lawyers, Mechanics, Ph.D.’s, Retirees, and Scientists. They all had two things in common. First, they trusted the salesman based upon his presentation or a referral from a friend, with no independent verification of his claims or his credentials. Second, they believed that they were too smart to be taken in by a salesman.

You need a specialist: Investor’s Watchdog.

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