One way that women and men can protect themselves is to get a qualified advisor who can bring clarity, market knowledge and, above all, discipline.
Whether you do hire and advisor or go it alone, you must consider risk for every decision. Generally, all investors must decide: Do I want to take high risk for potentially high returns or would I be more comfortable with lower likely returns and lower risk?
Unless you're an extremely advanced, experience investor, the best way to do that when investing in stocks is to forgo active portfolio management – especially your own – in favor of index funds and/or ETFs.
When you use active management the reduction of your net returns from high costs isn't a risk; it's a certainty.
This work is the opinion of the author and not that of ABC News.
Laura Mattia is a partner with Baron Financial Group, and a fee-only financial advisor. She's a Certified Financial Planner professional (CFP®), a Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS®) and a Certified Divorce Planner (CDFA™) and holds an M.B.A. in accounting/finance. Her Internet radio show is Financially Empowering Women™ with Laura Mattia. A professor at the Rutgers University Business School, Mattia is completing a Ph.D. in financial planning from Texas Tech University; her dissertation is on how to help women plan for retirement.