Three Things to Look for In a California Financial Advisor

You have finally reached a level of income and assets that you need to find a conveniently-located financial advisor in California to get you to the next level of wealth building. Congratulations, because that is a good problem to have. The right financial advisor can not only steer you in the right direction, they can also do something for you that you probably never thought necessary; they can teach you about your own money. Like it or not, you can be, and probably are, your own worst enemy when it comes to managing your money.

The laws are different on the West Coast, so you are going to want a California financial advisor, not a voice on the other end of the telephone and on the other end of the continent. Beyond very specific advice, here are some general guidelines that will help you find the professional help that is right for you:

No Commissions

Right or wrong, consciously or unconsciously, an advisor who works on commission can have their judgment clouded by an individual transaction. Instead, look for an advisor that charges a fee instead of a commission. Do not be fooled by advisors who tout their service as fee-based, which simply means they charge a fee and a commission.

One resource you can use to find a fee-only or hourly financial advisor is the National Association of Personal Finance Advisors.

Meaningful Certification

It comes as an unpleasant surprise to many seeking financial management; the only requirement to be able to legally give financial advice or to buy and sell assets is a passing mark on a test about securities law. If they are going to going to sell insurance, they will also need an insurance license. Just about everything else is mere filler.

The one designation that still retains meaning is CFP, which means that the recipient has underwent a thorough background check, has passed a comprehensive test covering all aspects of financial planning, and has at least three years of experience in the field. To maintain that rating, they must enroll in continuing education to stay current.

The Voice of Experience

The generally accepted length of the financial business cycle is seven to eleven years. Therefore, if you only consider hiring a California financial advisor who has served in that capacity for at least ten years, you will have the advantage of working with someone who has experienced firsthand the peaks and valleys of the investment landscape. When it is your money on the line, a cool and steady hand is what is called for.

There are risks associated with any investment plan, and past success is not an absolute predictor of future performance. But by following these three simple guidelines, you can maximize your chances of safe and steady financial growth.

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The Three Stages Of Money Laundering

OK, many of us have seen movies or TV shows where counterfeiters throw money into large dryers with poker chips or dice or some other items to make the bills appear to have been out in circulation when in fact theyve just been printed. Well, this has nothing to do with money laundering so the three stages of money laundering are NOT:

1) Gentle cycle No bleach

2) Tumble Dry on Low Heat

3) No Starch

And do not confuse stages with steps or transactions. Successful laundering, especially in large dollar amounts, is much more than 1-2-3 done. While some transactions can be very simple, others are complex and take much time and effort in order to avoid detection and that is the ultimate goal to avoid detection. It doesnt do the criminal any good to move and change money if it can be easily traced (and then seized). And it is a game in which the tools and tactics are constantly changing and evolving.

The Financial Action Task Force, FATF for short, is the multinational body that sets the global tone for AML efforts. Formed in 1989, it is based in Paris.The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has a three-part working definition. Each part basically defined one of the stages:

PLACEMENT introducing the illicit funds into the financial cycle. Even if the funds already were in a bank or brokerage account (as in cases of embezzlement or frauds), it is that first step as illicit funds that we will view as placement. However, the most common example of placement is the drug dealer who needs to get large quantities of smaller currency bills into the banking system.

LAYERING the moving and transferring of the funds in order to disguise the origins and true ownership of the money. This phase can be the most important and the most difficult it truly separates the pros from the amateurs. Here the money can change accounts, form, ownership, country, etc. It can go into and out of trusts and shell companies, it can buy or sell real estate or hard goods, it can move through different jurisdictions anything to confuse or eliminate a paper trail. And finally, there is

INTEGRATION this is when the criminal takes economic advantage of the illicit funds and they appear to have come from legitimate sources. Maybe the drug dealer buys a mansion, or a high end car, or a yacht, or even planes to move drugs and other money (in the case of the planes, they will likely be bought through a front or shell leasing company, who will rent it to a front or shell freight company, so that when a plane is ultimately impounded by law enforcement somewhere, it cannot be traced back to the dealer).

So there they are, the three stages of money laundering: Placement, Layering, Integration.