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In America there are many ways to make your money grow, and just as many ways to lose your money. Organized markets exist for almost any investment you can imagine, at many different risk levels. The lines between these companies are becoming less distinct, as banks move into the stock brokerage area, and as the larger financial companies buy up the smaller ones. The competing investment firms advertise heavily on the Internet and on television, each one claiming to have a special level of financial planning perspective.

A thin line, impossible to define, exists between “investments,” supposedly well-thought-out decisions designed to make your money grow, and “speculation,” a form a gambling motivated, for many practitioners, by greed. There is nothing inherent wrong with speculation as long as the participants recognize it for what it is: something inherently different from investing.

Ultimately, for any investor who wants to achieve a greater return than that offered by a typical bank certificate of deposit, some level of risk is involved. A good financial planner, independent or affiliated with a major investment company, can, theoretically help the investor keep the risk to a manageable level.

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