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Old 09-19-2013, 11:42 AM   #21
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Thanks for the feedback. I should have been clearer that the meeting with our financial adviser is not a sales pitch. We have been working with him for about 8 years preparing for retirement and are fairly comfortable with him and the advice we have received over this time.

I was most interested in seeing what other people, who have had similar experiences with other advisers from other companies, had received when they had this discussion. Was there a game plan, how detailed, or was it just fuzzy?

I understand the tales of caution everyone is providing and while I am not an expert at this stuff, I am not a neophyte either. Somewhere in the middle I’d say just trying to make the best decisions I can.
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:34 PM   #22
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Thanks for the update on your history with your financial advisor.

You need to be aware, however, that the overwhelming majority of people on this blog are Bogleheads that don't want to spend 1% of their portfolio on any financial advisor from the "big" investment firms. They don't want to be sold annuities, hedge funds, managed high expense mutual funds.

Why do they feel this way? To repeat myself, the typical retiree will spend 4% of his assets in retirement. If you pay an advisor 1%, that represents 25% of your retirement income......regardless of whether you make or lose money that year.

Some folks don't want to mess with managing their financial resources....I have family members that feel that way......that's fine......keep your advisor......just know that it is very, very expensive to do so. The answers you are looking for would be a blog that evaluates financial advisors rather than a financial plan. Frankly, I'd look for a good independed advisor that works by the hour. Ask him what your options are, what choices you have and confirm that he doesn't accept commissions as additional compensation beyond his hourly rate. Then.....do what you're comfortable with.....you've earned the right to do so. Good Luck.
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #23
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I too use ML and have done so for 15 years. It's important to me because he is good, he manages mother's money also (so no family squabbles) and piece of mind is worth the price of admission.

ML has a "retirement calculator" similar to others that he will probably present to you with the results. It's another "stamp of approval". The output includes a year by year model of your portfolio along with three models (conservative, moderate, aggressive).

ML will also help you set up an efficient withdrawal plan. We have chatted about that for years but no exact plan yet. With the combo w/BofA, ML has much more to offer for one stop and easy banking too.

In my world, his guidance is golden w/DW so it keeps things in check there also.

I would suggest open ended questions........

1) What have I forgotten to plan for?
2) What could derail the plan?
3) What happens if.....?

And then use his advice and all the other advice to make it work for you.

Congrats on meeting this milestone!
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:59 PM   #24
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To your original question, I met every year for the last 5 with my Fidelity advisor. Much of it was my work with his guidance. Basically he taught me how to fish.

It was the right amount of detail (for me), with several contingency plsns built into the bigger plan. It cost zero, and I can get Fidelity index funds for .07 ER. I'm also able to purchase Vanguard or other low ER funds.

I know a smart woman with who worked for over 25 years in the mutual fund industry, she's a ML client and is very happy with them. I asked her what their fees were, she had no idea what it cost, either on ER or the long term costs.

There's no right or wrong way to do this. It's like, 'do I want to go to an upscale restaurant for prime rib, or cook it at home'? Probably tastes the same either way.

Good luck, hope you're on track for your date.


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Old 09-19-2013, 01:44 PM   #25
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Jerome,
Thanks for the demographic update on the group's view point. It wasn't apparent until you mentioned the Boglehead leanings that I noticed the trend which is unmistakable.
Rex,
I think your advice is sound. We have been happy with our ML adviser as well. He helped with my wife's 401K and some other stock option advice in which he didn't have any skin in the game at all but still provided the advice when asked. I also like the idea of having a big name company with all of their resources to bear including the Bank of America connection.

By the way, what does DW stand for? I see it everywhere on the forum. I assume it refers to your wife but the actual meaning has me stumped. Having worked in the defense and telecommunications world, I really, really hate acronyms.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #26
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People on this board are here to learn about how to FIRE, so understandably most are interested in how their investments are handled and make the gentle leap to DIY with index funds at low expense ratios once they've done some reading here.

DH is not one of those people. He will probably call an FA on the way home from my funeral should I go first.

Let us know if your guy suggests changing your investments, if you want. It would be interesting to see what direction he feels you should go. I can let DH know .
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:55 PM   #27
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Quote:
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I too use ML and have done so for 15 years. It's important to me because he is good, ....
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J ...
Rex,
I think your advice is sound. We have been happy with our ML adviser as well. ....
And the question I always ask after these comments - how can you judge if the FA is 'good', or if you should be happy with them? It seems to me, one must have some knowledge to make this judgment. And as many of us have said many times, for most cases, the amount of knowledge needed to determine of your FA is any good is enough knowledge to DIY.

Anything from ~ 50/50 to 85/15 asset allocation has worked about the same in the past, there is no magic number that some FA will hand you. And as others have pointed out, most FAs will cost you about 25% of your retirement income. Are they that good?

BTW and FYI, "DW" stands for "Dear Wife" here.

* Acronyms and Slang Frequently Used on the Forum *

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Old 09-19-2013, 02:05 PM   #28
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And the question I always ask after these comments - how can you judge if the FA is 'good', or if you should be happy with them? It seems to me, one must have some knowledge to make this judgment. And as many of us have said many times, for most cases, the amount of knowledge needed to determine of your FA is any good is enough knowledge to DIY.

Anything from ~ 50/50 to 85/15 asset allocation has worked about the same in the past, there is no magic number that some FA will hand you. And as others have pointed out, most FAs will cost you about 25% of your retirement income. Are they that good?

BTW and FYI, "DW" stands for "Dear Wife" here.

* Acronyms and Slang Frequently Used on the Forum *

-ERD50
+1, If you know enough to really know whether your FA is giving you good advice then you know enough to DIY. Letting a FA have as much as 25% of your retirement income is kind of like deciding to work an extra decade so you can pay the FA.
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:17 PM   #29
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ML is a financial disaster and you are the victim. IMO of course.
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:31 PM   #30
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Jerome,
By the way, what does DW stand for? I see it everywhere on the forum. I assume it refers to your wife but the actual meaning has me stumped. Having worked in the defense and telecommunications world, I really, really hate acronyms.
Then you'll really, really hate this : * Acronyms and Slang Frequently Used on the Forum *
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:13 PM   #31
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Then you'll really, really hate this : * Acronyms and Slang Frequently Used on the Forum *
Nice to have the code book. TY.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:31 PM   #32
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I agree with those who say not to trust a financial planner. You need to do some self education. There are plenty of resources out there. Unless your financial life is excessively complicated . . . then you may have no choice. Seek out friends and recommendations of friends.

Having said that I did meet with a lawyer for some estate planning. My financial life is pretty simple but she found a few important changes to make in our house deed, drew up wills, and set up a trust. She was wonderful and reasonably priced and it was well worth the money.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:43 AM   #33
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I am going to take the high road and say this has not been my experience at all.
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:21 PM   #34
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I am going to take the high road and say this has not been my experience at all.
I don't understand. In what way are you 'taking the high road' with that comment?

And I am still curious about my earlier question - what is your basis for being 'happy' with your FA? How do you come to that conclusion?

-ERD50
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:35 PM   #35
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I have some very intelligent relatives (advanced college degrees) who misguidedly REFUSE to learn about finance while trusting essentially all their $$$ to a FA (@ 1.5+% PER YEAR plus brokerage fees, fund loads, etc). IMHO- Knowledge of at least basic investment issues is part of life in civil society. While some may choose to pay big $$ for "full fee" FA, without that basic understanding one has no way to evaluate if the FA is doing a good job or simply holding your hand while sweet-talking, plugging your assets into a '1-size-fits-all' plan, & taking your $$ in fees. Or worse, perhaps being a criminal 'mini-Madhoff'.
That said, despite being a financial DIYer I found it useful to have a formal (fee-only) FP done before deciding to FIRE. He gave me a somewhat independent second opinion regarding my situation (inc. AA & NW vs spending trends). And there are some $$-related life issues a good FP can advise you about (e.g. wills, trusts, POA's, etc.).
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Drew's index fund!
Old 09-21-2013, 02:32 PM   #36
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Drew's index fund!

I'd like to tell everyone that I strongly believe in my tag line.
Nobody should have to pay for sound financial advice. And nobody should listen to a financial advisor that is charging and or trying to charge you money for either a subscription, fees, etc..etc..

I subscribed to one of the more prominent internet investmen newsletters.
All they are good for is sending you teasers from other clubs, newsletters, etc..
trying to get you to join yet another one in order to get the latest and HOTTEST stock picks.
I quickly learned that by doing my homework and putting in a couple of hours of work, I was able to identify 90% of the stocks that the experts were recommending. If you read into the hints and then do a bunch of google searches you can usually figure out the stock(s) they are pushing.

So, I've decided to create my "own" little index fund with the money that I currently have in my IRA which was monies that I had earned in an old 457 deferred compensation from my former job in NY State.
I'm retired at age 43 and I live off of an injury related pension and S.S. Disabilty.
I don't have to work another day in my life as I live modestly.
I am a strong believer in forever and high dividend investing but I don't need to pay money to know which stocks to own.
I will be making my own little fund a bit more transparent as soon as I have a bit more time.
I can guarantee that I match or beat any newsletter or clubs and I don't charge a dime for my stock picks simply because I want others to create their own wealth without having to pay for it because you don't need to if you can do some homework but I've done most of that for you and will be listing the stocks that I own in my portfolio in due time.

Thank you all and I hope you enjoy and profit from the stocks I have chosen.

Happy Investing
Drew
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:09 PM   #37
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any time i see the name merrill lynch my pucker factor increases to 10+. Your experience may be different but i was misled/screwed once too often. Fortunately i found this website. I took a few days, started reading from the first post, asked a few questions, and pulled my biscuits from the fire before they burned. Cheers!
+++++ 11111111

I could be retired by now if i had received basic common sense honest advice from ML. Didn't quite happen that way. :-(
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:05 PM   #38
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+++++ 11111111

I could be retired by now if i had received basic common sense honest advice from ML. Didn't quite happen that way. :-(
And there's many that would tell they did, no offense intended to your post. I know folks that retired because their E.D. Jones advisor helped them. This thread is not about how a bad FA could have done better.

The OP had questions about what things to take away from a planning session. Many have tried to help, many have chosen to vent about FAs or other subjects.

Can we all get back to answering the OPs questions, instead of retelling how such and such FA did a bad job.

MRG
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:29 PM   #39
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...
The OP had questions about what things to take away from a planning session. Many have tried to help, many have chosen to vent about FAs or other subjects.

Can we all get back to answering the OPs questions, instead of retelling how such and such FA did a bad job.

MRG
No, because you can't really separate the two. It's a little like asking "Which grade of gasoline would be best to use to extinguish this fire?" Of course, the answer is "NONE!".

Maybe the OP will get back to me and answer my question about how he determined his FA is doing well for them? That would be enlightening.

Again, you need some knowledge to know if the FA is 'good', you need to know what to measure. That's enough knowledge to DIY, and save all those fees.

There may be specific tax situations, etc, that might make sense to pay by the hour for expert advice. But for general selection of investments and an AA - that is a piece of cake.

-ERD50
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:18 PM   #40
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Wow. Glad this wasn't the treatment I received on what was my 4th post.

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