Sharon had lived a hard life. Yet she still seemed filled with a boundless pool of silver-lining optimism.

I met Sharon, a local business owner peddling her handcrafted jewelry, at a recent art fair. There are some people who just cut through the small talk and get to life’s real topics right off the bat. Sharon was one of them.

In just half an hour, I learned she’d lived through lung cancer and came out the other side healthy and smiling — all while running a thriving 40-year-old business.

She kept that smile up through most of the conversation, and she only dropped it once.

It wasn’t when she was talking about her health.

It was when she was talking about her money.

After hearing that I worked in the finance industry, she got me up to speed on a financial adviser who’d made her a killing. She’d been advised to position a lot of her money in Tata Motors Ltd. (NYSE: TTM) in late 2009, and saw her profits soar about 200% in a year.

She was thrilled! Who wouldn’t be? She went ahead and purchased a new car and helped her kids pay off some college loans. I’m sure some Champagne was popped.

Understandably, with all of this success, she had incredible faith in her adviser. When the stock started slipping, she thought: “Hey, he’ll tell me when to jump ship.”

Cue a year later, and most her money was gone. She felt completely left in the dark, had no idea what had gone wrong and ended up selling near a bottom.

I’m sad to say this, but it’s not an uncommon problem. Last year, a Dalbar study showed from 1987 through 2016, the average active investor earned 3.98% a year, while the S&P 500 Index saw a 10.16% annual gain.

We all want to make money. We all want to be able to lead better, more fulfilling lives — the kind that means we still have a smile to brandish any time things get rough.

But we often give in to fear because we’re not quite sure what the markets are doing. And often, our financial advisers don’t seem to take their responsibilities to heart. They just want their fees.

And it means we lose money.

That’s why I’m a huge proponent of finding someone you trust to follow, and of teaching yourself a little more about the market in the process.

I know, I know … that’s easy to say, but how do you do it?

Well, there are three big things to keep in mind:

  1. Is this person reputable? First, find someone reputable. See if they are followed in the industry. Take natural resource expert Matt Badiali as an example. He’s routinely quoted in The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. In fact, he has a recent quote in Bloomberg about oil’s recent rally. You can read that article here.
  1. What’s their track record like? Find someone with a solid track record. No one is going to have a 100% win rate. (Well, maybe if they only invested once in their life … but you want someone who has a history of picking winners!) In Matt’s Real Wealth Strategist open portfolio, he currently has 21 positions — of which only two are down. That’s a 90% win rate if he closed those trades right now. And nine of those positions have double-digit gains!
  1. Are they going to go the extra mile and help you learn? Lastly, you want someone who’s willing to share their knowledge. Not to overdo it with the Matt mentions, but just check out his YouTube videos to see what I mean about trying to teach people to fish instead of just handing them sushi. In a recent video, he tells viewers the best time to invest in gold miners.

In the end, you want to feel good about where you’re putting your money. We all do. And you absolutely can.

There are clearly ways to find multiple double-digit winners. The first step is trusting the advice you’re getting, as well as your own gut feelings. That’s all there is to it.

To learn more about following Matt’s advice, just click here.

Catch you next week.


Jessica Cohn-Kleinberg

Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing