The Butler County Department on Aging is aware that seniors tend to get more offers that are not always above board. Here is some good advice to share with you:
A good offense is still the best defense against investment scams. Also, asking the right questions may help you make better investment decisions in addition to avoiding rip-offs. That’s a big plus, because securities regulators can’t do anything about the poor choices we make. They can act when someone breaks laws to cause us to make poor choices. You don’t need an Ivy League MBA to protect yourself.
Be firm. It’s OK to say no to someone who is trying to sell you something you aren’t sure of.
Be skeptical. Check out references and credentials, get details in writing about how things are supposed to work, and beware of anything that promises really big returns for very little risk.
Be in charge. Know how to get out of an investment if you want to, and what that will cost. Keep close track of what’s being done with your money, and ask tough questions.
Some of the tough questions are basic:
Is the offer registered with federal or state securities commissioners? In Kansas, you can call the state securities commission at 800-232-9580 to find out.
Why is this investment suitable for me? Whoever is offering the deal should be able to tell you clearly how it will help increase or preserve your wealth to meet your needs.
How does it work? You need to know whether it requires dividends, interest, or an increase in value to make money for you, and what must occur in the market for that to happen.
What does it cost? You need to know what additional fees and costs will occur, in addition to your initial investment, both to get into the deal and to get out again.
How much money could I lose? There are two issues to explore here. One is liquidity, which is how quickly and at what cost you can pull out of the investment. The other is knowing how much in total you risk losing if the investment fails completely, and what circumstances would make that happen.
“Securities regulators have treasure troves of free material to help you sort out broad questions such as these, as well as specific questions that are likely to come up, such as how to check out a broker, sales representative, or investment firm,” according to Gene Meyer with the Kansas Senior Press.
For help with other senior issues, contact us at Butler County Department on Aging, 510 E. Augusta, in Augusta or at 800-279-3655
Page 2 of 2 - We will have a Kansans Optimizing Health Program (KOHP) starting August 30, for six weeks. This is a class for 2 1/2 hours a week, and it teaches you how to manage any chronic health issue. For more information, call Pat at 800-279-3655.