Only a handful of Americans are sure of what the word fiduciary means. Not knowing the meaning can be costly. In the United States, financial advisors are divided between "fiduciaries", which are required to put your interests first, much like a doctor or lawyer, and others like brokers, which are more akin to sales people, required only to push products "suitable to risk tolerance", which can be more to benefit them than you. That's because these products can be very high commission, and also don't require the advisor to engage in an ongoing management or advisory relationship with the client.

If you have "A" shares of mutual funds in your portfolio, or most annuity products for that matter, guess what? -You likely fall into the category of people that have been "sold" rather than acted in the best interest of.

About half of people believe any financial advisor is required to act in their best interest. The key is this... If the Advisor is not part of a broker-dealer, which is required to do "commissionable investment products" and only part of a Registered Investment Advisor, not both, then the advisor is required to act as a fiduciary. In this case, the advisor typically gets paid based on a small percent of Assets Under Management per year, usually +/- a percent. This ensures that the advisor doesn't get paid more to invest one way or another, but rather the advisor's only incentive is to help you grow, investing in your best interest.

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Phillip Hanks