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When it pertains to paying attention to pitches from brokers and advisors, what you hear is not really constantly what you get.

Unfortunately, financial terms used to explain an investment’s functions and benefits can mean different things to different investors, advisors and even to different investment company and insurance coverage business.

Ultimately, items that are sold on the basis of security, assurances, flexibility, or expected returns can yield very various results. Yet these words are bandied about as if they each have a universal meaning.

In a financial world pestered by jargon, small print, and frauds, it’s more crucial than ever that investors not accept unclear promises or count on their own interpretation of words used to encourage them about where and ways to invest their life cost savings. Instead, they’ve to be prepared to ask the right problems and separate perceptions from reality.

1. Guaranteed

Of all the financial investment terms out there, none has the very same convincing power of the ‘G’ word. On the surface, an investment warranty seems like the ideal choice, however, according to Viktoria Palushaj, market expert for the CitrinGroup, investors have to peel off back the layers that have a guarantee. ‘Because no two warranties are the exact same,’ she says, ‘investors need to understand who’s assuring it. Exactly what’s – and isn’t – being guaranteed? Can the company make great on its promise? And exactly what proof and strategy do they’ve in area to support their financial investment claims?’

Palushaj adds that since investors bear the utmost risk of losing their cash, they’ve to go as far as learning if outside 3rd parties are involved, and what stake those parties have in the assurance. Bud Hebeler, retired executive, author and creator of, recommends that investors beware about ensured products packed with lots of disclosures and small print. ‘When the warranty needs to be explained over 20 pages and it’s not in 12-point typeface, investors must be on guard.’

2. Safe

Safety can be a comforting word. We all strive for safe neighborhoods, schools and, in many cases, financial investments that shelter our hard-earned cost savings. Hebeler shatters the notion. ‘Nothing is safe!’ he states. An investor might choose to avoid that reality, but with any investment comes danger – the archenemy of security.

Drummond Osborn, a Certified Financial Coordinator professional and owner of Osborn Wealth Management, states safety is a relative idea: ‘Safe as compared to exactly what? Is it as safe as an FDIC-insured CD, a U.S. Treasury bond – or is it just safer than a stock?’

Palushaj puts the standard measure that bonds are more secure than stocks to the test. ‘On paper,’ she states, ‘bonds can appear more secure than stocks due to the fact that bond owners earn initially if a business goes bankrupt. But if you get just pennies on the dollar, are they truly more secure?’

3. Return

How much you stand to make on a financial investment is the interesting part of the financial investment process. Lots of investors dream of being the financial expert whose stock-picking capability makes family and friends rich. However, just as the word ‘left’ is constantly accompanied by ‘right,’ and ‘up’ is inextricably tied to ‘down,’ returns should always be weighed versus the risk being taken to achieve them.

‘When returns are being gone over, investors need to comprehend all the threats being taken. The greater the return a product is providing, the greater the threat involved,’ says Palushaj. Hebeler states, too, that the time-tested disclaimer – ‘previous returns aren’t indicative of future returns’ – is there for a reason. ‘The markets are driven by events, not stats, and given that you can not forecast occasions such as war or natural disasters, you can not rely on previous returns and good track records,’ he states.

Palushaj warns investors about the recent stock exchange highs. ‘This year the marketplace is running away, which has made individuals more willing to take more risk,’ she says. ‘But they need to understand exactly how the asset has done over slower periods too.’

4. Flexible

Gymnasts and acrobats are certainly flexible, but flexible investment products may not flex as quickly as investors might assume. Evaluating the real flexibility of dates, dollars, rates, and costs is a fundamental part of accepting the regards to any contract. Hebeler has reviewed his reasonable share of contracts supposed to be flexible and asks, ‘Flexible for whom? It’s typically a one-way street for the company providing the product, where they’ve all the flexibility to make changes while the investor does not.’

‘Versatility generally features a cost,’ says retirement coach Christine Moriarty. The expense can affect overall financial investment efficiency or punish investors who’ve earnings or emergency funding requires that do not accompany the contract terms, anniversary dates, or go beyond yearly withdrawal limits.

‘Ensure the contract really fulfills your requirements,’ says Moriarty, ‘that you are not being informed just exactly what you wish to hear and you are not being sold the product of the month.’

5. Long Term

Investment expressions such as ‘we are in it for the long term’ or a bond categorized ‘long term’ can correspond to periods as brief as a couple of years or as many as 20-plus years. Being clear on an investment’s time horizon is essential due to the fact that it enables investors to compare it with other holdings in addition to economic information and market trends.

Instead of utilizing an unclear amount of time to examine a financial investment, ‘Make use of an entire company cycle to assess exactly how an investment performs, analyzing it throughout both boom and bust stages,’ says Palushaj.

‘Whether you are buying a stock or bond, investors need to understand why they’re getting it and at exactly what point they should think about offering it,’ adds Osborn. ‘Investors should not simply accept or presume a longer amount of time will fix an inadequate investment.’

Investors can stay clear of some of the pain and discomfort that comes from taking popular financial words for granted by being equipped with some useful questions, getting time-tested insight, and understanding that ‘exactly what you hear is not really always what you get.’

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