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Do you have a financial planner?
Old 08-28-2012, 11:40 AM   #1
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Do you have a financial planner?

Thought I'd ask this question. I get the impression that most folks here are do-it-yourselfers when it comes to investing and financial decisions. If you do it yourself, what publications do you read and about how much time per week do you spend managing your portfolio? For me, I do use a financial planner - see her about 3 times a year. I make my own decisions and mostly just run things by her for her thoughts. She is a very un-pushy person and rarely calls me unless I call her first. I have bought some things from her and have been pleased.

Seems like everywhere I'm bombarded by people who want to give me financial "advice". Even when I go to the bank, they try to get me to talk to someone there (who just happens to be available at that moment!). I think "Really, I'm just here to deposit this check. Can you just do that and let me go on my way?". I'm sounding like an old-timer but this never happened 20 years ago.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:50 AM   #2
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I quit reading financial magazines and rebalance my portfolio once a year. All index funds except a little BRK. The best advice I've gotten here and on the Bogleheads forum. No financial adviser.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:51 AM   #3
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I'm a DIY'er.

What financial strategy do you have your planner executing for you? What kind of products have you purchased from her? What does she charge?

Do you use a planner because you wouldn't know what to do or how to do it on your own? Or because you know what to do and how to do it and just prefer to pay someone else to spend the time and effort?
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:04 PM   #4
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I'm a DIY'er.

What financial strategy do you have your planner executing for you? What kind of products have you purchased from her? What does she charge?

Do you use a planner because you wouldn't know what to do or how to do it on your own? Or because you know what to do and how to do it and just prefer to pay someone else to spend the time and effort?

I'm already in stocks,sock funds, bonds, bond funds, money markets, etc. Looking for other investment vehicles I may be interested in. She's suggested REITs (Partially since I don't own a house now), and also a bond fund that is currently paying 7%. We've also talked about things like disability insurance, long term care insurance, and what are my financial and non-financial goals. I'm sure she gets some sort of commission, but it's not a load, where then money is taken out of my investments right away.

As I'm nearing retirement, I will have more time to spend researching myself. Also, sometimes I think I may be over-complicating my investments, but it is kind of a hobby for me.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:08 PM   #5
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I don't have an adviser (unless we count DW )
I probably spend few hours per quarter to manage my portfolio.
It's really on autopilot, meaning I have AA I try to stick to, and most of the time spent is a quick check on AA and making purchases with new money (roughly once a quarter in my 401k, when the cash balance it's high enough not to worry about $7 transaction fee)
I don't read any "publications" - occasionally I follow links to the financial articles found by forum members (So I might visit "Seeking Alpha" or "Financial Times" for example)
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:10 PM   #6
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Allow me to introduce my financial planner. He charged a one-time fee of $14.95. So far I've been very pleased with him.

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Old 08-28-2012, 12:13 PM   #7
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Allow me to introduce my financial planner. He charged a one-time fee of $14.95. So far I've been very pleased with him.



Thanks. Sounds like a great idea. Vanguard is my favorite.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:14 PM   #8
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This forum is better than any financial planner. All the questions you ever had, and then some you have yet to have, will all be answered on this forum.

Per the financial planner thing, change the name "financial planner" to "salesman" and you'll better understand their motivations. I had a relative who got laid off from his job. He then re-invented himself as a financial planner without much of any experience. He makes a decent living telling people to save more, pay off debts, and then puts them in very costly (ie. high fee) mutual funds. He uses a cookie-cutter approach to mutual fund asset allocation.

All you need to be a financial planner is a computer program to make eloborate multi-color pie-charts, and the gift of gab.

Perhaps you-too could be a financial planner. The good life awaits you.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:24 PM   #9
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... The best advice I've gotten here and on the Bogleheads forum. No financial adviser.
+1
No, I never have had a financial advisor although I do read some "fluffy" financial magazines for the entertainment and I could probably use some tax advice to know how much I can move to rIRA without going into 25% bracket. Otherwise I have gone from various no-load mutual funds to mostly target retirement funds and just a few stocks so when I'm gone my wife's investments will be on autopilot.

Cheers!
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by David1961 View Post
I'm already in stocks,sock funds, bonds, bond funds, money markets, etc. Looking for other investment vehicles I may be interested in. She's suggested REITs (Partially since I don't own a house now), and also a bond fund that is currently paying 7%. We've also talked about things like disability insurance, long term care insurance, and what are my financial and non-financial goals. I'm sure she gets some sort of commission, but it's not a load, where then money is taken out of my investments right away.

As I'm nearing retirement, I will have more time to spend researching myself. Also, sometimes I think I may be over-complicating my investments, but it is kind of a hobby for me.
David, it sounds like you're using your planner as a learning resource and that you will likely break free some day. And that's certainly one valid source of information. I'm really glad to hear you haven't just "turned everything over" to a planner but have an interest in what's going on.

I get my info across the board: books, web sites, magazines, discussion forums like this one. I'm about 90% buy and hold index funds (with rebalancing) and about 10% actively traded.

If managing your wealth "is kind of a hobby" for you, try formulating a plan to take over for your advisor. First make an effort to understand why she has things set up as she does to support your objectives. Then formulate a plan and schedule to take over.

DIYing doesn't necessarily mean having no one to answer questions. Many brokerage houses, Fidelity and Schwab for example, assign significant accounts to a representative who is available to give guidance on specific issues (at no cost). For example, I'm recharacterizing some IRA conversion money right now. I called my rep who gave me the five minute explanation, some references where to go for more info on their web site and emailed me the appropriate forms as a pdf. He's provided this kind of help on a number of specific issues. But he doesn't do my overall planning and management.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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David, it sounds like you're using your planner as a learning resource and that you will likely break free some day.

.

youbtet.. Yes I'd say that describes my situation very well. Everytime I talk with her I learn some things even if I don't buy anything during that visit. As nice as she is, she's still a salesman. Not to say she doesn't care about my interests, but she definitely is looking out for her best interests, even though it doesn't always seem apparent. Guess that's what being a salesman is all about, huh?
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:37 PM   #12
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I see my financial advisor every time I look in the mirror.

Stay away from the commission whore you have been talking to. She does not have your best interests at heart.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:47 PM   #13
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DIY but I have VG do a financial plan for me every couple years or so just to see what they have to say.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:17 PM   #14
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If you are a professional of sorts, or maybe small biz owner, you are probably wize to start with advice on a fee basis. Your time is valuable, and rather than spend time reading about finances, you're pouring time into the business. At some point you learn more about the accounting information and then investing. It's a progression of sorts. So it helps to have a trusted advisor. I was fortunate to have someone in the family who would advise on a wide range of subjects including financial ones.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:24 PM   #15
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....
Seems like everywhere I'm bombarded by people who want to give me financial "advice". Even when I go to the bank, they try to get me to talk to someone there (who just happens to be available at that moment!). I think "Really, I'm just here to deposit this check. Can you just do that and let me go on my way?". I'm sounding like an old-timer but this never happened 20 years ago.
If the bank folks try this on me, I always turn the tables and try to sell them my financial advice. I say, "You're looking at my bank balance. I can help you get there, but first you have to donate to my son's Little League team and sponsor my daughter's Charity League chapter, then we can talk."
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:05 PM   #16
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I do use a financial planner, started 4 years prior to ER (having been a DIY prior to that). It has been educational and helpful for me, as I have managed to do an estate plan, understand and set up a fixed income ladder for the next 8 years, get my various investments in the correct accounts (tax issues) and also start a charitable fund with some gains--most of which I would not have had a clue about 4 years ago.
Now that I am ER, I have the time and inclination to go back to being a DIY. I have recently changed from an AUM model to a flat fee for hourly review and advice. I cannot criticize what was for me timely and helpful advice that gave me the confidence to call my work life done at age 55. My highest fee was 0.75% of AUM and I believe that was money well spent considering it allowed me not to panic-sell when the bottom fell out of the markets.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:44 PM   #17
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I hired my financial advisor, a fellow by the name of Ejman about 25 years ago. He's kind of a PITA but I got to give him credit for getting me to FI/ER about 10 years ago and it's been pretty good since then. Best thing is the fees are reasonable, peanuts and beer kind of fellow.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:54 PM   #18
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No planner. Lots of reading, index funds, asset allocation.
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I almost have one
Old 08-28-2012, 07:01 PM   #19
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I almost have one

I almost have one. I'm in the process of filling out a ton of paperwork to give to a NAPFA FEE-ONLY planner so she can tell us if we're on track, and I can really be in the Class of 2017. She's not cheap, but it's a heckuva lot cheaper than paying 1% of your portfolio each year to a regular planner. Just can't justify that. We interviewed three of the latter, and I just wasn't impressed.

Anyway, she told us that some of her clients visit her yearly (50% less than the initial visit) to get their plan "tweaked". Some only come back when they have a major life event. Not sure how often we'll go back, but I do know I will feel a little better with someone else looking over my shoulder.

I will be doing what she tells me - she does nothing but make specific suggestions of what you need to be doing, down to which funds to invest and how much.

Of course, YMMV.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:36 PM   #20
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Interviewed a couple of financial planners several years before we pulled the plug. Thought about it for a minute then backed away like a smart dog does from a skunk.

Big fees, not such great advice and lack of control were our 3 big issues.
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