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Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-16-2005, 08:50 AM   #1
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Any money managers worth working with???

Hi all.

I have reached the point of total frustration in my attempts to find a company that is willing to work with my wife and I with regard to: Insurance, Investments, 401k rollovers, Disability Insurance, Roth IRAs, etc. etc.

Like many people who are working hard to ER, we are beginning to accumulate substantial funds in all these areas and I'd think we'd be an ideal customer to work with.

However, it seems I can't get anyone to return a phone call or an email to save my life. Even after meeting with a rep when things seem off to a great start, I can't get a response from them at all.

Doesn't this seem odd? Don't they make their money by working with people who want to invest it?

Do any of you have any suggestions on how best to go about this, or any companies you've had good luck with??

THANK YOU!!!!!!!
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-16-2005, 03:55 PM   #2
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

ASAP, most people here manage their own investments. It's easier than most people think. I wouldn't be meeting with any "reps" about investments - and I'd avoid insurance company investment products like the plague.

What kind of insurance are you talking about? Life? Generally it's best to do some comparison shopping and just buy term. I bought term without ever meeting with a rep. I did it all online and I believe they sent a nurse to the house to weigh us, take BP, etc. It was all very quick and efficient.

I never purchased disability insurance, although my employer did provide some limited coverage. I worked with many people who had job related injuries, and the few people who had coverage ultimately didn't get much in the way of benefits. Inevitably the insurance carriers find a way to get out of paying before very long. I wouldn't buy it, personally, but others may disagree.

I have my retirement plans at Vanguard. In my experience their customer service often sucks, but I've always been able to get their screw-ups fixed, and their costs are low. Lately I haven't had as many problems with them, and I have never had problems with their brokerage services. The best customer service I received was through USAA, but they don't have all the investments I want, and I prefer to keep everything under one roof. It's just easier.
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-17-2005, 04:42 AM   #3
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

I'm a reluctant second booster for Vanguard - success seems to be hurting them - in the sense that the people over the phone leave you with the impression they are rookies/undertrained?. Did my mini Roth conversion o.k. but the final confirmation paperwork didn't arrive undtil after the 12/31 deadline.

If nothing else - explore their services as a benchmark(especially on costs/fees) to compare others.

This year I may finally heed Bogle's advice - when all else fails - the simplest solution is usually the best - will consolidate - bits and pieces at Vanguard.
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-17-2005, 08:55 AM   #4
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

My suggestion is find a financial advisor in your area. Talk to coworkers or chuch members. They might have some ideas. As a last resort, try this link:

http://www.wiseradvisor.com/find_advisors.asp?code=gu
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:28 AM   #5
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You're not ignorant enough.

Quote:
I have reached the point of total frustration in my attempts to find a company that is willing to work with my wife and I with regard to: *Insurance, Investments, 401k rollovers, Disability Insurance, Roth IRAs, etc. etc. However, it seems I can't get anyone to return a phone call or an email to save my life. *Even after meeting with a rep when things seem off to a great start, I can't get a response from them at all.
On the contrary, that IS their response.

Apparently the reps have been able to determine that you don't score high enough on the clueless meter for their services to produce a long-term profit. Perhaps you're their worst nightmare-- the customer who asks detailed questions and expects analytical, thoughtful responses. The more intricate your personal data and your questions, the more work they have to do to justify their recommendations to your specific situation. So by "sharing", you're really scaring them off.

If you can get to this point by yourself then you can go the rest of the way without a guide. The two most comprehensive & readable references are William Bernstein's "The Four Pillars of Investments" and Sylvia Porter's Money Guide. (It's a big book, but you're only using it to look up the parts you care about.) You're probably past the "Mutual Funds for Dummies" stage but it's a most excellent guide too. Ed Slott's IRA book is becoming THE source for IRA/401(k) planning.

As you sort the situation out, post questions here or at the Vanguard Diehards board. It's worth what you pay for it, but it's the best financial-advice bargain you'll ever get.
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-21-2005, 09:33 AM   #6
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Thanks everyone, for the comments.

I am almost finished with the "Four Pillars" and it has been great. Has opened my eyes on some issues and comfirmed my belief/understanding on others.

I will not settle for a clueless advisor and, as you mention, that may be what's freaking them out. Kind of sad.

This is a very helpful board as always and it's appreciated. Thanks, all!
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-21-2005, 10:05 AM   #7
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

ASAP,

My parents for many years, and now my family, have had a good experience with an American Express FA. Would be happy to forward to you his name, number for a test run.

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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-23-2005, 10:32 AM   #8
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Quote:

Do any of you have any suggestions on how best to go about this, or any companies you've had good luck with??
Due to some very early (and very frugal/aggressive) savings plans, I have a good jump on reaching FI at a relatively early age (early 40s). Also, due to some very stressful times at my present job (family commercial contracting business), I know that I can't work with my brother due to big-time personality conflicts. So, when my current project is complete in 2006, I know that I'll be moving on.

I've always loved investments/investment analysis, and have toyed with the idea of becoming a Financial Advisor (either self-employed, or working for a firm such as American Express, et. al.).

I know that it'll draw a lot of sneers , but if I do become a FA, I honestly would be in it for peoples' best interests, since:

1) I naturally looking out for other peoples' protection/welfare/well being, and
2) I would be very close to FI, so I wouldn't need to practice used-car salesman tactics to skim 2% commissions off of fee-laden investments to live a high-flying lifestyle.

So, my question is: IF you could find an 'honest' FA who was truly looking out for you, would you rather pay them on an hourly basis, a small annual lump-sum (or percent of assets) fee plus a smaller hourly rate, or a flat lump-sum percent of all assets? What would these amounts be that you would be willing to pay?

Assume that you could go to this FA for any/all advice on any issue related to finance, and that they could point you in the right direction on issues ranging from where to get the best mortgage deal (and what type to get) to lawyers to set up trusts, to where to get the best deals on CDs, etc.

Also, if this FA told you that they were FI and weren't in it for just the money (of course, a reasonable income would be necessary to pay the bills, insurance, etc.), would it change your perception of them, or would it not matter?
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-23-2005, 12:06 PM   #9
 
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Well, you were right about the "sneers"

JG
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-23-2005, 01:38 PM   #10
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Quote:
I've always loved investments/investment analysis, and have toyed with the idea of becoming a Financial Advisor (either self-employed, or working for a firm such as American Express, et. al.).
Peter76, a few years back I received a call from a manager with a large financial services company. He had seen something I'd written and offered a job that would have more than tripled what I was making at the time. I turned him down for several reasons, the main one being that I wouldn't buy the financial products they were selling myself.

The point is, these companies aren't in business to help people, which is what seems to be driving your interest in this field; they're in business to sell products. There's a big difference. So I'd forget about selling financial products if you really want to help people.

On the other hand, if you were to go into a solo business and steer your customers to no-load funds, term life, etc., you'd have a difficult time making it. Why? Because your customer base would be clueless; why would they pay an unknown like you $50 per hour when there are all those big companies (the ones they see advertised by celebrities on TV) who will "help" them for "free"? Essentially you would be selling financial education to people who don't care about being educated. You'd likely struggle to pay your liability insurance, registration fees, and other overhead.
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-24-2005, 09:09 AM   #11
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Peter (and ASAP)
I have found one great use for a financial advisor and that is to get access to DFA funds. I learned about them in Bernstein's books and they work well for creating the asset allocation that I want for my ER investing.

Peter: If I were interested in being a CFA, I would try to get myself hooked up with DFA to sell their funds, and then I would try to do it only on a fee-only basis so people pay for my expertise in helping them learn and execute low=fee asset allocation strategies. It would be tough sledding but not impossible. DFA would vet you before they let you represent them, so you might rather join an existing firm with that designation and learn the ropes that way.

ASAP; in that vein, I think you can do almost anything you need to do yourself with the books people mention here and asking the Board for specific questions you find confusing. But if you wanted to find a fee-only DFA advisor to get you into those funds (when you finish Bernstein) you might also find that person a good resource to kick around ideas about some of the other issues that are concerning you.

I don't actually believe that all financial planners are scoundrels, but it is an occupational hazard. caveat emptor!
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-24-2005, 01:23 PM   #12
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

To put it bluntly - a good financial planner in 1966, big and mean enough to make me 'an offer I couldn't refuse' would have saved me money - 'in the school of hard knocks.'

Financial planners have a place in the world - but I've largely paid for my 'education'. - except perhaps - heh, heh - commodity futures.

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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-24-2005, 03:29 PM   #13
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Quote:
Hi all.

I have reached the point of total frustration in my attempts to find a company that is willing to work with my wife and I with regard to: *Insurance, Investments, 401k rollovers, Disability Insurance, Roth IRAs, etc. etc.

Like many people who are working hard to ER, we are beginning to accumulate substantial funds in all these areas and I'd think we'd be an ideal customer to work with.

However, it seems I can't get anyone to return a phone call or an email to save my life. *Even after meeting with a rep when things seem off to a great start, I can't get a response from them at all.

Doesn't this seem odd? *Don't they make their money by working with people who want to invest it?

Do any of you have any suggestions on how best to go about this, or any companies you've had good luck with??

THANK YOU!!!!!!!
I am not yet a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), which is an association of fee-only financial planners. I, myself, am a fee-only financial planner, so I'm not exactly an unbiased source when it comes to picking a planner.

Best of luck,

JLP

http://www.napfa.org

http://AllThingsFinancial.blogspot.com
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-28-2005, 06:06 AM   #14
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Hi ASAP,

I just wanted to chime in here and go a little against the grain. I have been using an independant CFA for the past year and a half and he has been very good. He is very honest and upfront, will recomend books to read such as the 4 Pillars, never push you into anything, steers you to no load and exchange traded funds, etc. We compare his performace against a growth index to see how well he is doing (I follow a growth model [moderate risk]). We always include his fees in this exercise and so far he is doing better by about a point or two.

I struggled with doing this myself or using a planner and decided that I was not disciplined enough to do it alone at this point in my life. It has been a great decision for me and I will continue using him for as long as I am working and probably even once I move into retirement. Although I think a less aggressive plan would require less management. ITs not rocket science to manage your own portfolio and certain methods require almost no thought, but if you are like me and want to have several asset classes (some non traditional) that are constantly being rebalanced then it can be very time consuming.

The cool thing about my CFA is that he is constantly reminding me that I am the one that decides if he is doing a good job. He never makes excuses for mistakes and does not brag about his successes. Its really very refreshing.

One last note, I would not use a big house for advisement. There are good analysts in those companies, but they are few and far between. Additionally they will be restricted to certain products and often push certain things that may not be in your interest. The one I use is associated with (but independent of) LPL Financial and has access to everything that is publicly traded and a few additional private investments such as closed REITS, hedge funds, etc.

Oh...his partner is a CFP,CPA and Tax Attorney which can be very helpful as well.

--Biker
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-28-2005, 06:59 AM   #15
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Good Post Biker

Planners have a place in this world - finding the 'right' one for 'you' can be difficult.

My theorical ideal - one stop shop for investments, taxes, insurance, estate, - that could handle everything should I croak - the women in this household have zero/negative phobia toward any of that stuff.

Meanwhile - I plod along doing it all myself.

My take - the truly wealthy have a 'team' of advisors selected over the years - with varying degrees of success.
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-28-2005, 08:32 AM   #16
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

ASAP, you might get information you could act on if you shared your geographic area.
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???
Old 01-29-2005, 08:19 PM   #17
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Re: Any money managers worth working with???

Also, if you happen to be interested in DFA funds, their website has links to help you find an advisor. The page is http://www.dfaus.com/find_advisor/ and while I have not decided to use DFA funds yet, I think that they are good funds. They require training of advisors that sell their funds, which is at least some level of filtering.
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