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Financial Advisor: Yes or No
Old 09-12-2019, 10:04 AM   #1
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Financial Advisor: Yes or No

About 4 months ago I moved to a new area in the US and hired a a financial advisor with Vanguard, where all my assets reside. Before that, while living in Mexico for 3 years, I did my own investing and rebalancing, yet started to feel a bit iffy about my choices. Vanguard charges .3%, which isnít much, but itís still significant depending on how much money one has invested.

I recently got light of Facet Wealth and their flat yearly fee, depending on the services one chooses ó the average amount being $1600/year.

Iíd like to read some of your opinions about the pros and cons of retaining a Vanguard financial advisor versus going with a company like Facet Wealth ó or having none at all, being that all my assets are with Vanguard.

Thanks~
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:11 AM   #2
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If you have over $1M to invest, FIDO will give you a "free" financial advisor...and that's the main reason we switched from Vanguard.

Now that I've been with FIDO about 15 months, I like their website and some of their tools better too...for example their CD laddering tool is awesome.

As for whether you need an advisor, it depends on your goals and investing style. If you're an "index" person and passive investor, then no need for one. If you want to "beat the market" then you'll need someone and even then no guarantees.

I select my own investments, but I like having a CFP on my side for some of the more technical questions...for example he spent 30 minutes on the phone with me explaining how TIPS work so I know whether I want to invest. He or she will also give you general guidance, for example your Roth should be aggressively invested (compared to a TIRA) since all withdrawals are tax-free...so we keep our Roths at 100% equities (they are only about 15% of our overall portfolio) and then invest a small portion of our TIRAs in equities to get to the AA we want.
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:25 AM   #3
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Thanks Dave. I googled FIDO and came up with Fido Management. Is that the company youíre referring to? I have a bit under $1 mil but would be curious to talk with them anyway.
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:33 AM   #4
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Fidelity = FIDO
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:35 AM   #5
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Aha, good to know.
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:54 AM   #6
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My first answer is no.


My second is also no.


But my third is do what makes you sleep better at night. If having a FA makes you think you are doing better and they are looking after you interests then go for it. But be aware that the stats show they do not do better AND they are not looking out for you.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:01 PM   #7
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Fidelity = FIDO
I asked two Fidelity advisers several moths ago about the free CFP with assets over 1mm and they both said no. Is there a URL with this info somewhere - I can't find it, if it exists.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:21 PM   #8
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Do you need someone between you and your money (because you freak out when the market dips)?

Consider the Efficient Market Hypotheses. Do you believe you can pick the winning stock picker, who will pick the stocks that will beat the market index (I am fairly certain that I cannot)?

If you answer yes to either question then you probably need an advisor. Otherwise, you likely don’t.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:26 PM   #9
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Fidelity...very large company. Sorry I assumed you knew.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabowest View Post
I asked two Fidelity advisers several moths ago about the free CFP with assets over 1mm and they both said no. Is there a URL with this info somewhere - I can't find it, if it exists.
Depending on where you live. I use the Denver branch, after I fired the dirty rotten annuity salesman they gave me, well sorry you can call the 800 number. For the record we have over a million in Fidelity assets and no CFP for me.

If I didn't have an issue with all assets being in one data center I would move everything to Vanguard. At this time they have the service advantage for my situation.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:53 PM   #11
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I asked two Fidelity advisers several moths ago about the free CFP with assets over 1mm and they both said no. Is there a URL with this info somewhere - I can't find it, if it exists.
Ok....

So what you need to ask about is being a "premium services" member.

THis gets you the following:

1) access to a particular advisor (CFP) instead of getting a different person each time you call in, and access (through your advisor) to a whole team of specialists such as estate planning and so on. Not sure if they have a tax team....but we did have a phone call with an estate planning person. They made sure we know they are NOT lawyers...but basically their job is to tell you what products they have to fit a particular estate planning need.

2) No annual account fees

I should note, however, that this is for people who choose their own investments. If you want them to make the investment decisions for you, then you must get into their wealth management program and they do charge fees for this...see link below.

I was wrong about the amount...for premium services you only need $250k in assets.

Premium services
https://workplacecontent.fidelity.co...umServices.pdf


Wealth management
https://www.fidelity.com/wealth-management/overview
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:54 PM   #12
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Depending on where you live. I use the Denver branch, after I fired the dirty rotten annuity salesman they gave me, well sorry you can call the 800 number. For the record we have over a million in Fidelity assets and no CFP for me.

If I didn't have an issue with all assets being in one data center I would move everything to Vanguard. At this time they have the service advantage for my situation.
Do you make your own investment decisions? If so, see my post above.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:28 AM   #13
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Ok....

So what you need to ask about is being a "premium services" member.

THis gets you the following:

1) access to a particular advisor (CFP) instead of getting a different person each time you call in, and access (through your advisor) to a whole team of specialists such as estate planning and so on. Not sure if they have a tax team....but we did have a phone call with an estate planning person. They made sure we know they are NOT lawyers...but basically their job is to tell you what products they have to fit a particular estate planning need.

2) No annual account fees

I should note, however, that this is for people who choose their own investments. If you want them to make the investment decisions for you, then you must get into their wealth management program and they do charge fees for this...see link below.

I was wrong about the amount...for premium services you only need $250k in assets.

Premium services
https://workplacecontent.fidelity.co...umServices.pdf


Wealth management
https://www.fidelity.com/wealth-management/overview

Thanks for the details and links, much appreciated! I will be following up on this.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:43 AM   #14
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The board population - at least the vocal ones, will say nope, never, no way. Financially it doesn't make sense for most people - especially ones that scrape fees or take say a percent of AUM (assets under management). An FA generally means someone who is active-investing (selling and trading and rebalancing), when most of us here prefer passive investing (only the rebalancing part), and stick to index funds for their low cost and market diversity. Have a look at a "bogle lazy portfolio" for some options of typical setups.

That said, I think a good, well-researched, cost-moderate FA can be helpful if you are starting out, lack confidence, and are would otherwise be on the sidelines. I think it's like training wheels. Some of us might never have been able to ride a bike if we hadn't had them to help us get started.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:10 AM   #15
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+1 on the Fidelity Wealth Management services.
I manage my own investments, but have a dedicated Fidelity rep to answer many questions.
An example can be what do you think of my Asset Allocation from a risk diversified perspective. They won't provide a pick of investments for free, but will provide analysis/opinions on your DIY Investment portfolio.

Additionally, you can call the Private Wealth dedicated number and receive responses from a team of reps for generic type questions, such as how does one go about putting together a portfolio/administrative questions, etc.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:30 AM   #16
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Do you make your own investment decisions? If so, see my post above.
Yes I do. I enjoyed the KC branch for 8 years and received excellent service. After moving to CO it ended. I've spoken with the Denver branch manager, he's who told me to call the 800 number.

My advice is unless you're in an area to visit a branch, I'm not, Vanguard will support you better. Why?

Vanguard supports almost all clients remotely so it's no big deal. During the time I had Fidelity's dirty rotten annuity salesman, trying to push me into something I didn't want to buy, I saw Fidelity's remote support. He wasted an hour trying to share his desktop with me!
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Kabowest View Post
I asked two Fidelity advisers several moths ago about the free CFP with assets over 1mm and they both said no. Is there a URL with this info somewhere - I can't find it, if it exists.
If you have $250k or more at Fido, you should see a link to Fidelity Premium Services on your dashboard page. Under the top banners, on the right hand side, my page says Fid Prem Services, and clicking it opens a phone number to call. I assume this is a "special" group number different from the regular one?
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:47 AM   #18
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I have had an unpaid Account Executive at Fidelity since 2008, and back then I had about $300k with them. (This amount is consistent with the $250k minimum needed to get an AE, as my "snake-bit" friend also got one there after an inheritance in late 2012.) My ER plan was gaining momentum, and meeting with the AE was helpful in getting the green light for my ER plan (she entered my data into Fido's RIP program). She also showed me how to better use Fido's website, something I hadn't used very much up to that point.


I got bounced around from one AE to another in the next few years, as they never seemed to stick around at the local office very long. One AE was helpful in setting up my Rollover IRA and meeting with me after I left my job in late 2008. But after that AE left, I got poached by another AE in late 2009 who wanted to take control of my portfolio for an AUM fee. I did meet with him but I was greatly put off by Mr. Pushy (and the fees), and after a stern letter to the office manager, I was switched to another AE, one I have been with ever since. I meet with him every ~18 months to discuss things including any changes to the website, my last visit back in May. Mr. Pushy left the office somewhere along the way.
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