When the morning news announced that Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison today, I found myself wanting to do the “happy dance.” But I didn’t…simply because that first wave of elation quickly subsided into sadness. 

No, I’m not sad for Bernie. I am sad about all those people who trusted him with their money who have now lost everything. And, I am sad (and angry!) for those who have been so deeply betrayed that they might not ever fully recover or trust another person again. Losing your life’s savings is hard enough to bear, but the loss of one’s ability to trust is perhaps the greatest loss one could ever experience.

So, maybe it is true that the “love of money” is the root of all evil. That someone could love money so much that they would lie, steal, cheat, and manipulate everyone in their life in order to obtain it is inconceivable to most of us. How can we possibly protect ourselves from “the dark side” of money and the likes of Bernie Madoff?

Unfortunately, I do not have an easy answer to that question. However, as a Money Coach there are a few things I have always recommended to my clients that might be worthy of your consideration. When it comes to money:

1. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Never put all your financial eggs in one basket.
3.Always be diversified in both investments and management.
4.Understand your risk tolerance and never let others convince you to invest otherwise.
5. If your investment advisor refuses to answer your questions, or makes you uncomfortable…run!
6. There are good and bad professionals in every profession. Just because Bernie made off with the money doesn’t mean all financial advisors are bad. So if need financial help and advice, get it.
7. Never give your financial power away to anyone else. Learn to read your statements,
ask questions and hold your advisors accountable to real performance.
8. Let your heart and gut guide your financial decisions.

Since apparently, even the smartest, most careful people in the world couldn’t see through Bernie’s facade…pray for God’s love, guidance and protection around all areas of your life,
including your financial well-being. Given recent events, that may be the best investment advice yet.

Peace and Blessings!

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