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57 and on a mission
Old 12-07-2014, 08:08 AM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Atlanta
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57 and on a mission

Great to be a new member. Already see how helpful these forums will be in my quest to retire in the next couple years.

Situation: Currently in Atlanta. With, what I believe, to be sufficient investments, pension and home equity in place, I want to get comfortable that the time will soon be right. Currently working at a start up that may soon sell. If not, I may not want to stick around much longer. Beginning to question whether my small stake will be worth the sweat.

Questions: People on this forum are pretty set on not using professional (paid) financial managers. I am not well versed to handle the task myself. Is there a value in using a pro for a portion of my investments and manage the rest myself?

Second Question: With no firm ties to Atlanta we are free to relo upon retirement. In looking for a new location, there seems to be a lot of contradictory information on economic measures to evaluate cities. Any advice on good resources to critique locations?

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Old 12-07-2014, 08:18 AM   #2
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Handling your investments can be a lot easier than you think. But if you really need someone, you want a fixed-fee financial planner where you pay them a fee for their services. Their initial evaluation might be more extensive but after that it is just periodic checkups to see that you are on track with the plan and what mid-course corrections are needed.

You want to avoid any advisers who charge based on a percentage of your assets that they manage.

In your situation, I would look into Vanguard and their financial planning services. Depending on how much you are investing, it could be free and Vanguard has a good variety of low cost managed and index funds.

If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:45 AM   #3
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Excellent advice above. Re locating, I'm currently plotting a cross country move and have found the City Data Forums to be useful. Forum: Relocation, Moving, General and Local City Discussions
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
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Old 12-07-2014, 11:23 AM   #4
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Welcome ATLfornow.

Most folks on this board are do-it-yourself types - preferring to save the fees for themselves. If you have a 3% withdrawal rate - but are paying 1% to a FA, then you only have 2% to spend... That can cut a budget too tight.

There are lots of good books to learn how easy it is to manage your money yourself - especially using low expense index funds. The Millionaire Teacher is a good starting point.

If you want help getting your asset allocation set, consider a fee-only FA rather than a "wealth manager" that charges based on the size of your portfolio. Most of the bigger low cost investment firms (Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity) will put together a plan for you for low cost or free (depending on the size of your portfolio).

I can't offer an opinion on relocation... too many personal factors go into that. There are places that are extremely inexpensive - but have weather or neighborhoods I wouldn't like. You (and your family) will have to make the relocation decisions based on what is most important to you. I am in a high COLA - but really enjoy where I live... so I'm willing to put up with the higher state taxes, etc.
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
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Old 12-07-2014, 11:46 AM   #5
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Welcome. I agree you should take charge of your own investing, it's much simpler if you are looking at low cost index funds. Look at some simple 3 fund portfolios in the search here and use that until you want to get more adventurist. Many use nothing more than that and do very well compared to high load wealth management scenarios. Congrats on what you've saved and initiative to plan for retirement.

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Old 12-07-2014, 12:14 PM   #6
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Re: where to relocate, my sister and her DH retired to Albuquerque, NM after raising their family in a suburb of Atlanta. They absolutely love it there. Mid size city, no humidity (it's high desert) and lots of sunshine. They made friends easily, joined the senior hiking groups and met like minded people. Santa Fe is a short drive. Some folks think the landscape is too "brown", and it would be compared to Atlanta. But the lack of humidity is a big plus. Good luck with your quest to find the right place, and welcome to the board!
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Old 12-07-2014, 01:11 PM   #7
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I would suggest you do the reading, modeling and learning necessary to manage the money yourself. It's not that hard, you'll actually wind up being more comfortable with your money b/c you'll understand it and you can always use a for-fee advisor as a double check or alternative viewpoint.

To keep myself motivated on DIY I just look at the effective hourly rate of someone getting 1%. If I have $1m to manage, that $10k/ it $850/mo. Even if you put 20 hours/mo into learning and executing, you're paying yourself over $40 after-tax dollars per hour! And the hourly rate goes up as your portfolio goes up and hours of effort required goes down once you've got it all up and running.

Seriously, I bet most advisors spend less than 3 hours per mo on your portfolio. If that.

Pay the neighborhood kid $20 to mow the lawn and plow those hours into managing your money.

My $0.02. Welcome and good luck!
Luck is when Preparation meets Opportunity.
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:51 AM   #8
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I opened a Vanguard VPAS account in early 2014 and have been quite happy with their service. Some folks in this forum think the .3% fee is a waste of money. But for me it was worth consolidating a large chunk of my assets and have a salaried CFP set everything up for me, to include incorporating a tax-advantaged strategy. They also created a retirement plan/strategy.
While I like money and what it can buy, I have never been interested in researching and tracking equities and bonds. Now that my account is set up with proper allocations for my risk tolerance, if I am become disenchanted with VPAS, I can cancel it at any time.
When I retire next year and have more free time, I may reconsider and attempt to become more involved....but I doubt it.
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Old 12-10-2014, 12:07 PM   #9
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People often make investing more complicated than it needs to be. There's a lot if choice and information out there and it's easy to feel you are missing something; this is why people end up with so many different funds. Don't over complicate things! Read the Boglehead wiki ( just google it) and follow the principles.

As far as where to live, that's a very personal thing and factors other than money are very important. I live in MA which often comes low in surveys of the best places to retire because of taxes and the cost of living, but It's my perfect place.
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." - Spock
Retired Mar 2014 at age 52
Target AA: 70% equity funds / 28% TIAA-Traditional/ 2% cash
Target WR: 0.0%,
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ATLfornow View Post
Questions: People on this forum are pretty set on not using professional (paid) financial managers. I am not well versed to handle the task myself. Is there a value in using a pro for a portion of my investments and manage the rest myself?
Like many on the forum, I've never used a financial manager (paid for or not). I've always wondered, if they (the financial manager) knows so much about making money, then why are "they" still working for a living? You might try going to some "free" financial advisor seminars in your city. Many big investing firms offer them so they can try and sell you on their services. They usually come with a free lunch or dinner and only last maybe 60 to 90 minutes. I probably went to 5 or 6 of them before realizing they are all selling pretty much the same things and aren't doing anything special for me (I can do it myself). YMMV

Reading this forum, Bogelheads and others that you like (tons of them), may help you become more comfortable with managing your own.

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