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I received a phone call from a client I have known for 21 years. She had been solicited by a salesperson trying to sell her an investment. As I listened and asked questions, it became obvious she had not been given all the information she needed to make a sound decision.

Investor Pro Tip: Before making an investment, ask questions and get the facts.

If someone recommends an investment product, be sure you understand exactly what you are buying before you do anything. Nothing is perfect, and there are pluses and minuses to everything. Be sure to ask questions, get the facts, and if you do not feel comfortable, get a second opinion.


  • Are comparable products with lower sales charges available? If so, there is no reason to pay more for the same product.
  • Does the product have any “contingent deferred sales charges” (sometimes called CDSCs)? Suppose you want to cash in some or all your investment. If the product has a CDSC, you might have to pay a sizeable penalty to get your money. If that’s the case, ask for a document showing the complete schedule of CDSCs.
  • What are the product’s internal costs and fees? These are hidden amounts that will reduce the growth of your investment. Lower costs mean you get to keep more.


  • Does the product contain any limitations or restrictions? For example, are there restrictions on withdrawals or on payments to your beneficiaries? What about growth limitations?
  • Can the investment be sold easily, or at all? If not, you could be left with a problem if you need the money quickly.
  • How are gains in the value of the investment taxed when you make a withdrawal? Are they taxed as ordinary income? If you are under 59 1/2, is there any additional tax or penalty? If so, you may pay taxes you had not originally planned on.


Asking thoughtful questions will guide you in making sound financial decisions. Take the time to investigate before you invest. Remember, knowledge = power.


The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) has regulations and standards in place to protect investors. Join me next time to learn more!


Tom Hurt has owned and managed Advantage Financial Group for over 30 years. He has degrees in Economics and Finance. He can be contacted at to*****@af*****.net.

Tom Hurt, MBA


Tom has owned and operated Advantage Financial Group and its predecessors for over thirty years. He holds an MBA in Finance, has a General Securities (Series 7) license, and is an Investment Advisor Representative registered in 21 states. He is also licensed for Life and Health Insurance, as well as Variable Annuities. For over three decades, Tom has helped hundreds of clients successfully define and achieve their financial goals. Tom is a Registered Principal with Securities America, Inc. and an Investment Advisor Representative with Securities Advisors, Inc.

Tom divides his time between Wallingford, Connecticut and Carlsbad, California with his wife, Susan. He has one son and two stepchildren.

Phone : (760) 494-6223 or (203) 269-4669
E-mail : to*****@af*****.net

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Jackie Podeswa

Operations Manager

Jackie is the Operations Manager at the Wallingford, CT office of Advantage Financial Group. She started in the finance industry in 1997 as a part-time assistant at a predecessor company. That organization was merged into AFG in 2000, expanding her duties in operations.

Jackie is responsible for all office operations, working directly with clients to opening/maintaining financial accounts, IRA Rollovers, Required Minimum Distributions, setting up investment and withdrawal plans, mutual fund redemptions, and whatever else clients need. She has developed trusted relationships with clients, and provides first-class, personalized service, so important in today’s complex financial world. Personal commitment to the welfare of our clients is her strongest asset. Our clients appreciate Jackie’s individualized commitment to them. They know whatever issues they need resolved, will be handled professionally and personally. AFG’s main objective is offering excellent client service.

Jackie and her husband Bob have lived in Wallingford since 1989.  They are avid Yankees fans, enjoy traveling and spending time with their three children and two grandchildren. 

Phone : (203) 269-4669
E-mail : ja*****@af*****.net

Ray Hurt


Ray spent more than a decade working in Sales Operations and Logistics Management before joining the Advantage Financial Group team. He has a strong technological background, an analytic approach, and excellent interpersonal skills. This combination enables him to devise custom-tailored solutions that maximize results.

He holds a B.A. in Economics from Goucher College, and Series 7 and 66 securities licenses with FINRA. Ray lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his partner, Lisa, and their pet rabbit, Ziggy.

Phone : (760) 494-6223 or (203) 269-4669
E-mail : ra*****@af*****.net

Susan Hurt

Susan Hurt, MAG

Office Manager

Susan has worked in the financial services industry in a variety of capacities since 1990. Her primary responsibility is to cultivate strong client relationships. Most recently, Susan has taken on the role of managing the company website and related social media. She manages all accounting and tax reporting for AFG.

Susan has a Master’s degree in Gerontology, which provides valuable insight and the sensitivity required to address the challenges our older clients may be facing.

Susan lives with her husband, Tom in Carlsbad, California. She has one stepchild and two children.

Phone : (760) 494-6223
E-mail : su*******@af*****.net