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6 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Impersonating a Financial Advisor

Being a good financial advisor requires years of studying the market, developing viable short-and long-term strategies, and balancing your clients’ retirement goals. But if you’re a real go-getter, why not set your sights even higher — on impersonating a financial advisor?

As you get your fake consultancy off the ground, watch out for these 6 common mistakes, and soon enough, you’ll be swindling your loved ones better than your Aunt Joan’s favorite Nigerian prince.

1. Letting your client choose their portfolio strategy

Aren’t you the expert? Of course you aren’t. But your clients can never know this, and if you’re not careful, they’ll smell a personal Bear Stearns shitting in their money pool from a mile away. Take a page straight out of Jim Cramer’s playbook: get loud, get bold, get money.

2. Reporting any activity, from anyone, to the IRS, ever

Famed entertainer and convicted tax evader Wesley Snipes once said, “I didn’t defraud the government by taking money that was not mine.” He also said, “A lot of people don’t know I’ve been on Broadway.” We could learn a lot from him.

3. Not understanding how to take people’s money

This is where your education comes in. It’s not like a mugging, where you just show up and make your clients empty their pockets. You need to take mortgages, hedge funds, college funds, retirement accounts… the list goes on and on. Make sure you’ve got a good handle on all the ways your clients can turn their money into your money — keep it as easy as possible for them.

4. Using simple, easy-to-understand language

Clients will ask you to explain your policies and plans in “layman’s terms.” The key, though, is to not do that. Pro tip: each time they ask you to explain something, nod and say understandingly, “I see. Let me find another way to phrase it,” and make your point again with the biggest words you know — even if they don’t make contextual sense. Bonus points for making up your own words and phrases, like “bicantuary,” “flatfalling,” or “The Tin Man’s Folly.”

5. Too many briefcases

Yes, you need to show that you manage lots of people’s wealth, and yes, you should carry a briefcase to take your clients’ documentation. But leave the extras at home: carrying more than 3 briefcases with you at any time is a dead giveaway, and just looks like you don’t know how to pack for a day trip. Less is more here.