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This Week in Your Wallet: Rate Your Financial Advisor

If you’re on the hunt for the best fajitas in town, or you’re in the market for a new pair of running shoes, what’s the one place you look to streamline the decision-making process? The reviews. Five stars, no stars, thumbs up, thumbs down – you don’t have to go far to find a comments section or review site for just about anything these days – even financial advisors. Take WalletHub.com, for example, which offers its own rating system for financial advisors.

Just recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granted money managers and advisors the right to feature third-party reviews on their marketing materials. Meaning: Your advisor can now use your dazzling Facebook review (of him) to boost his business. I asked WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou for the run down – why you should care and what does this mean for the advisory industry? Here, a few of his thoughts: 

What does this mean for consumers/investors?

In a world where everyone relies heavily on the Internet for fast-paced information, this will allow investors to react faster. Consumers and investors are now free to compare the professionals who manage our money with the same level of discernment and transparency that has long been available in other segments of the market – from hotels to restaurants and consumer electronics. In other words, the SEC is making groundbreaking strides to level the playing field.

How will financial advisors be monitored so that they’re not putting up positive reviews of themselves under aliases?

We would all love to believe that the whole community functions on an “honor” basis, but unfortunately that is not always the case…

Check out the rest of the interview here.

What if Uncle Sam paid you to lose weight?

Would you finally hit the gym and start budgeting your calories alongside your checkbook? It’s no secret that over one-third of adults in this country are obese, and the costs for obesity-related health issues are extremely high. In fact, America is the leading nation for healthcare expenses with an annual medical bill of $2.7 trillion. 

This discussion was spurred by a recent op-ed on Slate, which argues that Americans should be able to deduct preventative health measures, like gym memberships, on their annual tax bills. As it turns out, research from The American Journal of Preventive Medicine says you’re more likely to lace up your running shoes when there’s a financial incentive at the end of the track. For more, check out the column.

Protect your money with BillGuard

Be honest: How often do you check your debit and credit card transactions? I’m afraid the monthly survey to see the outstanding balance, or the quick glance on your way to the store, don’t really count. I’m talking about a line item review of every transaction you’ve made on each one of your cards. I’d venture to guess it’s not that often, or rather, not often enough. Full disclosure: It’s that way for me, too. Don’t beat yourself up. This is the case for many Americans, and I get why: Who has the time? Even still, it’s one of the best ways to catch errors, spot hidden fees and identify fraudulent activity.

So if you could use a little help in the watchdog department, check out BillGuard, a free app that aids in the spotting and disputing of dubious charges. As The New York Times reports, it simplifies viewing your transactions by aggregating them into one place. Then, one by one, you can verify each purchase, or send an email to the merchant asking for more information (if the charge looks questionable). Since last year’s Target data breach, BillGuard has helped consumers detect over $1 million in fraudulent transactions. For more, read the full article.

Going green and saving green

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. After you give a nod to Mother Nature by separating the papers from the plastics, or maybe planting a tree with your kids, reward yourself with some of these Earth Day freebies via dealnews.com.

  • EVOS Milkshakes: If you’re in the Southeast, get your organic shake on at EVOS, an all-American burger joint that serves
    your burger and fries with a side of sustainabilityEVOS is offering free milkshakes today.
  • Glass Straws: Sip in eco-friendly style with glass straws from Glass Dharma. If you head over to their site today and pass this quiz, they’ll send you a confirmation email with a coupon code for the straw. Why go glass, or rather, super-strong borosilicate tubing? (Don’t worry it’s safe for the kids.) Glass straws reduce plastic waste, and they don’t leach plastic toxins into your beverages. Here’s to planet-and-health-savvy sipping.
  • National Parks: The U.S. National Park Service is offering free admission to over 400 national parks to celebrate Earth Day and National Park Week (April 19-27). For those of you looking to rekindle your relationship with Mother Nature after this winter, use this week to do it. For more Earth Day freebies and discounts, head here.

Have a great week,


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