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Taking Stock Of Where The Financial World Stands

Article previously published in Ponte Vedra Recorder newspaper, Ponte Vedra Florida (3/5/15)

It is always good to take stock of where the financial world stands on various issues. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law required the SEC to create a new department called the Office of the Investor Advocate to monitor Wall Street activities and caution investors, particularly individuals not highly skilled or experienced in investment issues, on those investment ideas or strategies which may not be appropriate for them. Recently that department published its annual report and cited four investments of concern:

  1. Private placements
  2. Variable annuities
  3. Non-publically traded REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)
  4. Binary options

Items one and four are rarely seen with average investors but items two and three are found frequently in the portfolios that I see when I first meet with new clients. The issues with variable annuities are many, but the two that stand out are the multiplicity and magnitude of fees charged and the exposure that policy owners have to the stock market declines. All annuities are not created equal yet people are sometimes led by their advisor to products that may serve the advisor’s interest more than the customer’s interests.

As for non-publically traded REITs, the issue cited was high front-end fees. However, I would include lack of liquidity in that list as well. I’ve seen many people in recent years who bought this type of REIT only to see it discontinue paying dividends and suspend redemptions, forcing the owner to consider selling their investment in the secondary market for pennies on the dollar.

Our firm’s mission is to guide investors through turbulent times over the years safely and with as little risk as needed to achieve the clients desired results. If you would like an independent review (or a second opinion) of your situation, just call us and we’ll schedule a time to meet. The consultation is free but the analysis may be invaluable.

Frederic “Ric” Schilling is a Florida native, born in Jacksonville, Fl. Ric is President of Senior Guardians of America, a local North Florida firm specializing in tax reduction, long term illness planning, asset protection, probate avoidance and life income planning. Ric is a National Speaker and Advocate on Senior Issues and has been featured by the Florida Times Union and WJXT, TV-4 in Jacksonville as an authority on Estate Planning and Retirement Issues. Senior Guardians has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member in excellent standing with the National Ethics Association. Contact Frederic : 904-371-3302 or 888-891-3381 Please visit:

This article is not intended to give tax or legal advice. Securities offered through Center Street Securities, Inc.(CSS), a registered Broker-Dealer and Member of FINRA & SIPC. Senior Guardians is independent of CSS.