As a financial professional providing counsel to clients across multiple generations, and with regard to various concerns, questions and objectives, I have witnessed common investment mistakes (both perceptions and behaviors) that undermine the probability of success rather than enhance the same.

One such perception is the concept that investment selection is far more important than advisor selection.

Given my experience within the financial services industry (27 years), my education (a degree in both Economics & Finance) and my credentials (Certified Financial Planner®, Certified Life Underwriter® & Chartered Financial Consultant®), I have come to realize that the most critical decision an individual / family faces when seeking to gain and maintain greater control with regard to their financial future is not what firm is chosen or what investment vehicles (mutual funds, annuities, stocks, etc.) are utilized in the design, adoption and management of a portfolio.

Instead, it is the financial professional (s) chosen that will enhance the likelihood of achieving what is important, personally and financially.

Another common investment mistake is the perception that fees “paid” to a professional, taxes etc. will undermine one’s success, ability to achieve objectives (planning for retirement, education funding, etc.).

Interestingly, and over course of my career, I have found that fees “paid” to a professional, taxes or the “markets” rarely, if ever, undermine one’s success or their ability to achieve objectives.

Instead, investor / client behaviors are the most common reason as to why objectives are not achieved. Worth noting is Vanguard, commonly considered the low-cost provider with regard to investing, authorized a study that quantified the value of a professional.

As financial professionals, we have seen many common investment mistakes to avoid.

Next, the importance of engaging an independent “advisor” and / or a fiduciary. 

Frankly, I imagine that the forth coming commentary might not, at least initially, resonate with readers. 

However, while academic accomplishments, professional credentials and being a fiduciary can be viewed as being of great value, only one’s moral compass, sense of personal responsibility, integrity, honesty and ethics will provide a safeguard against wrong doing. 

Worth noting is Bernie Madoff, the mastermind behind largest financial Ponzi scheme in history (estimated to be 65 billion dollars), became a fiduciary in 2006 when he registered as an investment advisor. 

There is no magical force field surrounding an advisor (independent, fiduciary etc.) that will prevent wrong doing if wrong doing is the intent. 

Lastly, one of the most common investment mistakes is putting too much stock in the media.  It has been some time since the media was source of insight, wisdom and reported the news as it was.  Instead, today’s media seeks to slant, color and sensationalize events & developments worldwide – the result of which is never ending noise (24 hours per day, 7 days per week & 365 days per year) that promotes knee jerk, emotionally based decisions. There will always be headlines that can shake the markets in the short term. 

However, there is no way to process such information and translate the same into a portfolio on a day-to-day basis – prudently & thoughtfully. That being said, using a comfortable retirement as an objective, you are likely a very long-term investor – investing not only to, but through, retirement. And lastly, remember you own your portfolio, not the “market.” 


ICG next is an innovative, industry-leading financial advisory firm located in Wall Township, NJ, serving multigenerational families as they plan for what’s next. Our team of knowledgeable and caring advisors is changing the way our clients think about and view financial services.

To contact ICG next, please call (732) 359-3838.

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