Because certain indexes have performed well over the past few years, those who promote passive investing are recommending that you follow the current fad and just buy index funds. Passive investing can be useful if it is done right. However, it can be dangerous done blindly. Passive strategies are fully exposed to the whims of the market and can expose investors to significant declines and risks. With this approach you must be aware that you will likely go through a 50% decline at some point.

Making money is difficult. Keeping your money is even harder. There seems to be ten ways to lose money for every one way there is to make it. To complicate things further, managing investments is counterintuitive. Research repeatedly shows that most people invest when they shouldn’t and don’t invest when they should. According to studies by Dalbar, for the 30 year period ending December 2013 the average stock market investor earned only 3.69% compounded versus 11.11% compounded for the broad stock market. Underperformance of 7.42% annually for 30 years is a huge penalty for the “average” investor to pay.

The bottom line is that if you do not have the time, resources, and expertise to manage your money then you are walking into a minefield. Over the years I have seen countless people lose their entire savings to bad investment decisions. Whether it be through leveraged real estate, misguided business ventures, poorly structured annuities, bad stock choices, expensive life insurance, loans to relatives, or even offshore investments, the end result is always the same. They lose their savings and what was once a good situation turns into a bad one.

Your success has brought you money. That money can be a blessing or a curse. If you manage it properly then it can help you simplify and enjoy your life by allowing you to do whatever is most important to you. If you don’t make good money decisions then it can bring you more grief than good.

Everywhere you turn there are different voices telling you how to invest. Financial news channels, magazines, insurance companies, infomercials, self-proclaimed experts, etc. There is no shortage of free advice. The problem is that most free advice is worth about what it costs.

Paragon has been guiding investors for 28 years. We have experienced, survived and thrived in some of the most difficult markets in U.S. history. Those very difficult markets include the Crash of 1987, the Asian Crisis of 1998, the Tech Collapse of 2000 and the Financial Crisis of 2008. We have steadily grown in the face of adversity.

Our clients are our friends. We are their guide. Our money is invested right alongside theirs. Most clients initially choose Paragon because of our stellar investment performance. However, as time goes on they realize that our highest value is actually protecting them from their inexperience and stopping them from making bad investments. It is our mission to help you make the right decisions and find financial peace.

Written by Dave Young, President & Founder of Paragon Wealth Management

Paragon Wealth Management is a provider of managed portfolios for individuals and institutions. Although the information included in this report has been obtained from sources Paragon believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the judgment as of the dates indicated and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.