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Anyone use Ameriprise for investing help?
Old 09-26-2018, 09:32 PM   #1
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Anyone use Ameriprise for investing help?

We have used a financial advisor in the past. (I know that not everyone thinks that's a good idea, but anyhow.......) He has recently changed from the institution he's represented for years, to Ameriprise Financial. I'm not familiar with that name or that company's reputation. We need to decide whether to move our funds with him or stay where we are.

Anyone have any thoughts, experiences, background on them. I am looking at reviews on line, but also know that the people on this board are very knowledgeable and might have some insight or some concerns that I haven't though of yet.

Thanks for any comments, pro or con.
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Old 09-26-2018, 09:36 PM   #2
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Ameriprise spun off from American Express in the mid-2000's. As you can guess, there will be mixed reviews, with a whole lot of "dump any FA" and "only Fiduciaries" and a mix.

Here's a recent thread though, which talks through a lot of things to take into account when your FA changes institutions. I'm sure a lot of it applies no matter the to and the from:

Financial adviser changing brokers
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Old 09-26-2018, 10:18 PM   #3
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Do a search here for "Ameriprise". My take is that they are one of the very worst in terms of charges, integrity and gouging you if you leave.
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:29 PM   #4
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Yes, Ameriprise is pretty bad.... I'd stay away.
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:31 PM   #5
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My Ameriprise financial advisor was a nice human being but he was first and foremost a salesman working on commission. He pushed high fee/commission investment options and our investment performance was dismal. He also locked our money in annuities that were expensive to cash in when we decided to move our money elsewhere. Overall, not a good experience.
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Old 09-27-2018, 04:42 AM   #6
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Before 2007-2008, DW and I were sitting pretty good, so I asked an Ameriprise FA to evaluate our situation. I had pulled out my analysis from 1986 that I bought then and the numbers were spot on.

Anyhoo, I told the guy I was looking for a withdrawal plan if we had dough, and if I should do Roth conversions. I emphatically said that I would not BUY an annuity, or life insurance. About a month later, he and his boss came to the house, and his boss gave the presentation....to cash in my 7 figure 401k and buy an annuity! I was so mad I couldn't see straight, but I did throw them out of the house, and got my $1200 fee back. The annuity purchase may have avoided the 07/08 Great Recession decline in the portfolio, but would have also avoided the 120% return since then, under my own eye. We FIRED in 2014, and are still trying to get a grip on withdrawal plans and Roth conversions.
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Old 09-27-2018, 05:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momcpa View Post
We have used a financial advisor in the past. (I know that not everyone thinks that's a good idea, but anyhow.......) He has recently changed from the institution he's represented for years, to Ameriprise Financial. I'm not familiar with that name or that company's reputation. We need to decide whether to move our funds with him or stay where we are.

Anyone have any thoughts, experiences, background on them. I am looking at reviews on line, but also know that the people on this board are very knowledgeable and might have some insight or some concerns that I haven't though of yet.

Thanks for any comments, pro or con.
Whether you stay with old company, or follow salesman to new company, you are not optimizing your portfolio. High fee funds, trading fees, 1% or higher FA fee, it is not the best situation.

Either way, you'll still get a Birthday Card! I hope you find the moxie to self-manage.
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Old 09-27-2018, 05:33 AM   #8
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"dump any FA" and "only Fiduciaries"
When one is looking to live off a WR of 3 to 4% of your portfolio per year, why pay 1/4 to 1/3 of that to someone else?
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Old 09-27-2018, 06:28 AM   #9
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I am in the despised minority here, but not everyone is a financial expert nor wishes to be. I am an MBA and yet I did not feel I could do this job alone (in my non-existent spare time).

I have been with Ameriprise for 23 years now, with two different advisors. They took my initial portfolio of about $250K (invested in the same type of investment 15 times!) and developed a diversified plan for me. I have been a more knowledgeable part of that planning and management as it progressed. And I had the final say-- and responsibility for same.

I retired two years ago and have taken out about $80,000 over all.
The investment portion of my nest egg is $700K today. If I did FV correctly, that is about a 5% return. It certainly would have been better if not for the 2007 debacle. Of course, someone else here could do it themselves and do it better. I know I could not.

To the OP: In my mind the change in firms is not important-- it is the capability and trust you have in your advisor AND his integrity that is critical. And you need to keep reading (even the postings of the sometimes disdainful gurus here)... and ask questions of your guy/gal. Pointed questions where need be.
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Old 09-27-2018, 07:19 AM   #10
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$250k invested in Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund 23 years ago would be worth $2.5 million today... a 9.74% annualized return.

https://www.portfoliovisualizer.com/...ocation1_1=100
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Anyone use Ameriprise for investing help?
Old 09-27-2018, 07:20 AM   #11
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Anyone use Ameriprise for investing help?

OHjosh
Your advisor earned 5% avg for 23yrs but an SP500 index returned about 9% so I think you could probably do that for yourself. Maybe your FA kept you calm through the two big declines we experienced during that time but it’s at least good to recognize the cost for that service.
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Old 09-27-2018, 07:59 AM   #12
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Successful investing does not require someone to become a financial expert.
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Old 09-27-2018, 08:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by OHjosh View Post
I am in the despised minority here, but not everyone is a financial expert nor wishes to be. I am an MBA and yet I did not feel I could do this job alone (in my non-existent spare time).

I have been with Ameriprise for 23 years now, with two different advisors. They took my initial portfolio of about $250K (invested in the same type of investment 15 times!) and developed a diversified plan for me. I have been a more knowledgeable part of that planning and management as it progressed. And I had the final say-- and responsibility for same.

I retired two years ago and have taken out about $80,000 over all.
The investment portion of my nest egg is $700K today. If I did FV correctly, that is about a 5% return. It certainly would have been better if not for the 2007 debacle. Of course, someone else here could do it themselves and do it better. I know I could not.

To the OP: In my mind the change in firms is not important-- it is the capability and trust you have in your advisor AND his integrity that is critical. And you need to keep reading (even the postings of the sometimes disdainful gurus here)... and ask questions of your guy/gal. Pointed questions where need be.
But how do you know if the advisor is capable and trustworthy, and ask pointed questions, unless you have some financial expertise? Word of mouth? My dad has an FA, and recommends him to a lot of people who trust him. Guess what he's mostly invested in? Annuities. It's a long story but for many reasons I'm not getting involved.

So then it comes down to time and effort. You say you have no free time. But if someone would pay you $7,000 (1% of $700K) for a few hours of work at your desk throughout the year, on no specific schedule, I bet you could find the time. Or maybe that's not worth it to you, or you'd feel compelled to spend a lot more time on it. I spend more time, but mostly because I like numbers and it's kind of a hobby.

It's your business what you do but I think your advise to the OP has holes.
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Old 09-27-2018, 08:46 AM   #14
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I am in the despised minority here, but not everyone is a financial expert nor wishes to be. I am an MBA and yet I did not feel I could do this job alone (in my non-existent spare time).
BTW, you are NOT despised here (although I understand it may feel that way sometimes). With all the resources available these days, there is a ton of support available even without an FA. I'm always amazed by some friends with FA's that don't seem to really know how they're doing yet they are very satisfied with the status quo. In one case, a guy could never convince his DW that he could do as well as "a professional".
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:40 AM   #15
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To answer the OP's question, Ameriprise was previously American Express Financial Advisors was previously Investors Diversified Services (IDS). AFIK in all of its incarnations it has been viewed has a firm with high costs and poor investment performance. With that longtime reputation and some of the comments here I would suggest that you go elsewhere.

Option 1: Both Schwab and Fido will assign a personal advisor to clients above a specific asset threshold. This comes at no cost. IIRC Fido's threshold is $100K and Schwab's is $250K. I may not remember them right, but the message is that you don't have to have seven figures for them to pay attention to you.

Option 2: For people who want more service and a good, solid portfolio I suggest going to the Dimensional web site (https://www.dimensional.com/), finding a few advisors in your area, and interviewing them. I have a very high opinion of Dimensional's strategy and of the advisors that have been approved to sell their products. I actually have mid-six-figures with a DFA advisor, not for advice but to get access to the Dimensional products. I have haggled him down to 50bps for this portfolio.

Option 3: Go to https://www.napfa.org/ and pick some local advisors to interview.

IN ALL CASES: (1) Before interviewing, check the advisor out at brokercheck.com, paying particular attention to any customer complaints. (2) Insist that any advisor give you written assurance that they are acting as a fiduciary in all aspects of your relationship. (3) Understand that fees are negotiable, particularly if the advisor believes that you will not be a high maintenance client. (4) Remember that you are not looking to hire a friend. You are looking to hire a skilled workman. It's not much different than hiring a lawn service except the lawn work is easier for you to QC and any damage done is temporary. Neither may be true for an advisor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
But how do you know if the advisor is capable and trustworthy, and ask pointed questions, unless you have some financial expertise? ...
Here is a thought: In this day and age when defined benefit retirement income is virtually gone, acquiring some financial expertise may have become a near-necessity.

Think about this: It is a near-necessity that all adults learn to drive a car. To not have this ability is to add difficulty and expense (taxis, etc.) to one's life. Not much different than not having financial expertise will add difficulty and expense to life, right?
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Old 09-27-2018, 12:10 PM   #16
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My one and only advisor was Ameriprise. Other than the really nice charts they created for me the first time I walked in the door, I have ZERO good to say about them.

For instance I opened my first ROTH IRA in 1998, I was fresh out of college.. being responsible. I was able to contribute thru 2004. I moved the account to Vanguard in 2011. I had less money in that account than I had contributed... over the course of 13 years they managed to have LOST me money.

4 of the 6 funds they recommended to me were sued (and granted award) for fraud.

I have had no interaction with them since 2011 but basically at that point, they only chose funds in their portfolio, they were all bad and all front-loaded with massive fees.

My parents have an FI thru American Funds.. yes it annoys me they are also front loaded, but at least their funds have good returns.
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Old 09-27-2018, 12:52 PM   #17
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My one and only advisor was Ameriprise. Other than the really nice charts they created for me the first time I walked in the door, I have ZERO good to say about them.

Snip..

My parents have an FI thru American Funds.. yes it annoys me they are also front loaded, but at least their funds have good returns.
I remember some of the issues you had. Sad these folks still exist.

Other than the front end load and some of the bad advisors out there American Funds is a cut above Ameriprise.
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:08 PM   #18
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Before this conversation breaks down in to a pro anti financial advisor argument, I'd just caution you that you do not need to stay with the same representative. They are trained to groom personal relationships and send birthday cards and remember spouses names, but they are not really your friend and you are not betraying them if you go with someone else.



I personally like Fidelity because they have a brick and mortar presence in my town and I've never had any pressure to buy anything from them. They have very low cost funds available and with my simple investing strategy, all I do is re-balance them every few years, which takes me an hour or so.
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:39 PM   #19
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When one is looking to live off a WR of 3 to 4% of your portfolio per year, why pay 1/4 to 1/3 of that to someone else?
+1

You worked hard over many years to earn your nest egg, Exactly what do they actually do to take 1/4 to 1/3 of your income?
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Old 09-27-2018, 03:27 PM   #20
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I don't know much about Ameriprise specifically. I recommend using FINRA.org's broker check as well as their guidance on how to choose an advisor. The SEC has a nice SEC investor bulletin on how to choose an investment professional as well. I think some of the choice as to who and whether to have an advisor is subjective - will they help you sort through decisions and get you to a place you wouldn't get to without them? How do you place a value on that? I know if your focus is higher performance then there is a lot of research which indicates index funds would be a better choice than an advisor when looking at long term investing. I'm not sure how you find the advisor and firm which will outperform the "market" for the longterm and by the time you know you truly have the right one it would likely be too late. Good luck!
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