The ‘Ozark’ Guide to Managing Your Money Like a Big Boy (Just in Time For Season 3)
“What is money? It’s everything if you don’t have it, right?” So says Marty Byrde, the protagonist of Ozark, a Netflix original series starring Jason Bateman (who also serves as director and executive producer of the show). This dark drama follows Marty’s initially unwilling descent from financial planner to money launderer for a Mexican drug cartel. In a deal made to save his life, Byrde relocates to Ozarks in Missouri to wash money funneled to him from the most vicious of bad guys.
Throughout the show, Marty uses his smarts and charm to convince unsuspecting rubes to partake in various investments, most of which fail miserably (but leave him holding all the cash). While you likely won’t encounter someone this devious when you decide to start building your nest egg, you could learn a thing or two from the show about how to manage your money and the red flags to look for when hiring a financial adviser.
Cover Photo: Netflix
Do your research.
Anyone can call themselves a financial adviser. But before you hand over your hard-earned money, find out what this person’s qualifications actually are. Ideally, they’ll be a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Financial Analyst, or a Certified Public Accountant. Look them up on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website to ensure there haven’t been any disciplinary actions taken against them. Visit the adviser in their office (environment says a lot about a person). Ask for – and contact – references. Find out if your adviser-to-be is a fiduciary (a designation that implies higher standards of ethical and legal conduct). What are your financial adviser’s ties to the community? You definitely don’t want someone who just moved to town (because they might soon be running out of it, with your money).
Trust but verify.
Your financial adviser will, obviously, advise you on where to invest your money. Listen to their advice but before you sign your funds away, do your due diligence and Google the shit out of what they’re suggesting.
Stay away from cash.
A legit financial adviser doesn’t deal in cash. They’ll want your investment funds in check form or as a bank transfer. Both methods leave a paper trail, which is crucial when investing. Be wary of anyone who is cool with taking cash, which is essentially untraceable.
Ask for documents.
Your financial investment statements should never come on a letterhead that any Joe Blow could whip up with Microsoft Word and a printer. Information on returns and investments should come directly from custodians, or the companies holding your money, not from your financial adviser's desk.
Beware of overnight successes.
Investing is not a get-rich-quick scenario; it’s a long game. It takes time to see profits, and along the way, you might experience some (temporary) losses as well. If it appears you’ve suddenly struck gold after a short time investing, something might be fishy.
Just say no to the hard sell.
If your financial adviser seems adamant about you investing in a certain venture, take a step back and breathe. Nothing is such an exclusive or once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you need to act impulsively to take advantage of it. If you feel pressured to drop too much money or invest in a frenzied manner, your financial adviser might be leading you astray.
Listen to your intuition.
If something about your financial adviser strikes you as suspect, pay attention to it. Don’t invest with anyone you don’t trust 100 percent.
Live below your means.
Marty is dealing with major bucks, but you wouldn’t guess it from his outward appearance. His cars are old and unimpressive; his homes are fixer-uppers. He doesn’t wear designer duds. If you saw him on the street, you wouldn’t think he was rolling in it. Be like Marty. Live frugally, as if you don’t have a nest egg. That way, if it all goes to hell and you lose every cent, it won't be the end of the world.