Keeping Tabs on Your Investments
- Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman
Make certain you know where all your money is. Here are some points to consider.
When your adviser invests in stocks or mutual funds, your money is held by an independent financial institution, known as a custodian. Know your account numbers, how to contact the custodian, and the names of that company's chief executives.
Make sure your adviser has a back-up system in case of a disaster. Does he or she have duplicate records of your account at another location? If so, get the address and phone numbers at that location.
Check whether your adviser has a qualified person to manage your account if he or she becomes incapacitated.
The company that has custody, typically a broker-dealer, bank or trust company is required to provide you with financial statements at least quarterly. Read them. Make sure that these statements are coming to you directly from your custodian firm--not from your adviser.
Talk to your adviser at least every three months and visit his or her office annually. If he or she has made any changes, ask why. Get details. Ask what the strategy will be if economic conditions change. Be sure to jointly review your financial goals. Be sure to notify your adviser if your financial condition or tax situation has changed.
Spouses Gail Liberman and Alan Lavine are syndicated columnists. Their latest book is "Rags to Retirement (Alpha Books)." You can e-mail them at MWliblav@aol.com.
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