How do you decide whom to trust with your money?

Bernard Madoff gets 150 years for swindling people out of their savings. Regulators in Minnesota close a Pine City bank. It’s clear that, these days, small savers and investors need to watch out. How do you decide whom to trust with your money?

I have a broker whom I’ve known for 30 years. Even so, I do not put all my wealth into accounts he services. I put restrictions on any trading, which require my approval. I self manage about 50% of my wealth and the other 50% I utilize a wealth management expert. -Lee Stastny, Plymouth, MN

Institutions that have stood the test of time -who have time and again done the right thing even when no one’s watching. As someone who has worked in the financial services industry for seven years the mutual insurers have stood out for me as the institutions who can be trusted the most. These companies are owned by directly by policyholders as opposed to stockholder (wall street). -Ashish Tomar, Edina, MN

With banks failing and the FDIC needind a bailout last September and still short funded the insurance companies of the country seem to be the best bet. No investor has ever not been paid by these companies as they usually have stong reserves and in Minnesota many products are backed also by the Minnesota Life and Health Guaranty Association Law. At the end of the day they remain strong because they are forced to adhere to sound economic principle and audits. -Robert Ward, Grand Rapids, MN

It doesn’t matter — just don’t trust the same one person with ALL of your money. -Bill, St. Paul, MN

I’ve been in the financial services and life insurance for the past 29 years. Free enterprise and open societies are build on trust and confidence with open and honest exchange of products and services between individuals. Without both trust and confidence between and among individuals and enterprises no society or economy is healthy and sustainable. The Good Life is not built on fear and greed, but is successful when everyone is empowered to participate in a free market. Growth alone, however, is no guarantee that a lifestyle, and community is sustainable. Our economy is only as healthy and prosperous and our most vulnerable citizens. -Bob Sixta, Rochester, MN

I am the guy that people need to trust with their money. My advice is threefold: recommendation, currrent recognized designation, FINRA licensed representative status. -Rick Dworsky, St. Louis Park, MN

  • Nelle LaValle

    Unfortunately, trusting anyone with your money has become a daunting decision. We’ve seen trusted individuals in our society, such as Tom Petter’s, run life-altering scams. We’ve also seen banks that were at one time respected begging for a bailout. In times like this, we need to trust ourselves. Ourselves to do the research, ourselves to search for recommendations, and ourselves to know that even if we have trust, we could still become a victim.

  • Marie Janecek

    You cannot always trust your financial advisor. I had an advisor for over 15 years when he sold Seaforth Meridan, LTD that was not approved by United Planners of American for whom he worked. If you put the Seaforth name on google you will find a 16 page SEC law suit . Because Mr. Knapp (the financial advisor) sold me this investment under his name, I was able to recover my investment. I filed a complaint with Minn. Dept. of Commerce and he lost his license and was charged with selling unregistered securities and engaged in frauduolent, decptive and dishonest practies. This transaction occured in Grand Rapids, MN. not a large city. He also sold this

    investment to an older lady, ($100,000) but was dishonest enough to never have his name on any of the transactions. She lost everything, had to move from her home and had to change her retirement plans.

  • Jeff Friesen

    I don’t trust anyone. Even the SEC became corrupt when the Bush administration fired all the regulators.

    I have an investment account that is in Canada. They, at least, have regulations in place on their crooks.

  • Bev Johnsen

    Bankers, realtors, investment advisors, executives (anyone remember Enron?) all earn money by selling advice. Giving trust on top of paying a fee is a gift, not a promissory note with a guarantee. My grandparents went bankrupt in the Great Depression,* lost their home and business, and lived to repay, dollar for dollar, their debts to others. I trust what they taught me. I trade money for services and I give money to people who I see doing something positive. Trust is not an issue where a fee is being paid. The only people I trust with my money are the people I value more than I value my money. *Note: WW I was called the Great War until WW II came along

  • Joe Johnson

    I too would not trust outside investment groups to manage large parts of my money. It’s sad that I have come to feel this way. But current and recent financial happenings have destroyed my belief in the system.

  • M. Reid

    I presume textbooks are being re-crafted right now by the next generation of investment savants who will define what we should be doing until the next crisis happens. Hopefully the new writings will address the fact that investment diversification, asset class correlation, and market timing all need new chapters.

    As such, I fear my trust in the whole system has now taken massive blows 3 times in 10 years, with my net worth bearing the brunt each time (tech crash / 9-11 / sub-prime crisis).

    Show me an advisor who has steered his / her clients comfortably through all three of these crises using a consistent, prescribed toolset and I’m very possibly their next client!

    My sense is – and has been since the early 00’s – that if I goof it up it’s my bad, but if I hand it over to someone else who aims higher and goofs up along the way I end up with a question in my mind about my choice of savants – as well as kicking myself for not having taken the opportunity to learn what I should be doing myself all along.