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Fee only financial planners
Old 10-05-2007, 09:57 PM   #1
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Fee only financial planners

Hi everyone,

I've had some meetings with reps from places like Wachovia and M&I, but I want to stay away from the salesmen for a bit and try to get some impartial financial advice. I've been seeing recommendations to use fee only financial planners. Does anyone have any experience or advice with this?

I'm having some problems finding one. I've done some google searches and yellow pages etc, but before I set up any appointments, I wanted to see if anyone on the boards knew of a decent fee only planner in Wisconsin/Northern Illinois, or any knowledge of a link which could help me locate one. I've looked at the site listed below. Any experience with these Cambridge people or the advisers they recommend? Does this Karen Folk look like a good place to start, or John Scherer?

Transferring to CAMBRIDGE ADVISORS
Folk Financial Planning - Fee-Only Financial Planning
Trinity Financial Planning

Thanks. Any help or advice is appreciated.

Eddie
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:47 PM   #2
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Eddie, JMHO but if you move over 250K into Vanguard you can have it done for free.
If you move over 1M they will give you a yearly checkup, also for free.
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Old 10-06-2007, 05:44 AM   #3
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Several years ago I used a USAA fee-only planner for a sanity check on my strategy. Had I known about Vanguard back then I would have saved myself some $ by using their services. I second 73's suggestion.
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Old 10-06-2007, 06:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Several years ago I used a USAA fee-only planner for a sanity check on my strategy. Had I known about Vanguard back then I would have saved myself some $ by using their services. I second 73's suggestion.
+1. I did the same thing just before I discovered this board. I wanted to get confirmation on the withdrawal rate, allocation, etc. I paid my FA an hourly rate for her review - I put the data together and wrote my own plan. It would cost a lot more to have the FA work from scratch and come up with a plan After I discovered this board I found better advice (although you have to work a bit - i.e. read - to get it). I too moved a significant portion to Vanguard. Their review will be match what you would get from most fee only advisors with a bias toward VG funds of course..
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:58 AM   #5
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I've got a Fidelity office near me. They gave me free consultation - not sure at what investment level, though. (I evidently had enough) They are not on commission.
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Old 10-06-2007, 10:55 AM   #6
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Plus Vangard planners will answer any questions for you and expalin the plan and modify it to your risk tolerance .
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Old 10-06-2007, 03:28 PM   #7
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I wouldn't use Fidelity. We moved there, and they recommended some very lousy funds, all with 12b-1 fees of course.
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Old 10-06-2007, 03:36 PM   #8
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I vote Vanguard also. I've been through the process and although you don't meet face to face it was a pretty decent experience.
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Old 10-06-2007, 04:33 PM   #9
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EddieG, here's what you're looking for I think. 1-800-feeonly.

I paid USAA to work with me. They put together a ten pound computer generated plan that wasn't particularly helpful, made some suggestions that I knew but hadn't gotten around to doing, and told me everything was fine. They try to gently nudge you toward some of their products, but no hard sells. My only big disappointment was not being able to offer any tax advice along with the investment stuff. If you use a CFP look for one that's also a CPA.

I also had Fidelity do their ten pound printout for me. Not very impressed.
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by EddieG View Post
Hi everyone,
Thanks. Any help or advice is appreciated.

Eddie
I know from experience I'll be flamed big time for stating this, but I've been extremely happy with my financial advisor. He has beat the S&P 500 index by from 2-5 points for the last 4 years. He showed me what his asset allocation over the 1998-2003 time period returned and on an annual basis, it was only in the red a small amount for one year. The stated returns are net after advisor fee.

He is a CPA, CFP and a lawyer. He's here in Georgia so that won't help much. He uses a software model, that he wrote, that evaluates mutual funds and rates them on a number of factors. He then invests in funds only in the top 25% of the rating. He reviews the list quarterly and rebalances the AA annually. Usually the rebalancing is accomplished by selling lower rated funds that have fallen out of the top 25%.

There are other subjective issues that affect his choices too, such as tax consequences, etc.

A long post, I'm sorry, but I would talk with a few (4-5) financial advisors (fee only) and see how they operate. Ask them pointed info on how they decide what investments to make and what kind of returns they've had in the past. Be sure they state the returns as "net after fees". Most CFPs will have a number of plans ranging from income investment (bonds and other investments that are primarily cash generators) to long term capital growth for younger investors. Once you've found an advisor that has an investment method that makes sense to you, see if you can get references and call them. Find out which plan (if they will tell you) they are invested in and what the returns have been. Be sure to get a reference of someone that has been with the advisor over the 1998-2004 time frame and ask about performance in a down market.

Go to the Home Page - NAPFA - The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors web site and register with them and let them send you info on members in your area. That's a pretty good place to start. Caution, some of these people will be pushy and will call you and send you info in the mail. But then you probably want to get as much info as you can, so that's not all bad. Just be prepared for a "bold" response.

Now most of these advisors will want to manage your money, but if that's of no interest, they will for a fee give you pointed suggestions and educate you on managing your money.

Above all, stay far away from advisors that you don't pay. Since someone is paying them, they most likely will have a hidden agenda. Even Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard's advisors will be biased to favor their companies interests. Stick with fee only advisors.

And that's my advice and my experience.

Let the flames begin!

Jim.
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:15 PM   #11
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I know from experience I'll be flamed big time for stating this, but I've been extremely happy with my financial advisor. He has beat the S&P 500 index by from 2-5 points for the last 4 years.
So have I, since 1991, using low cost index funds. Not a big deal.
I'm sure there are many others that have similar results, minus
the financial adviser.
TJ
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:33 PM   #12
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I wanted access to DFA funds and I didn't want to pay a percentage of assets under management so my solution was Evanson Asset Management, www.evanasset.com. Depending on the number of accounts you have, you could be looking at fees as low as $500 per quarter or $2,000 per year. Their fees are clearly outlined and are the second link on their menu on their website. Because your fees are basically based on the amount of work they have to do for you and not on your balance, your fees DO NOT increase as your balance increases.

I found them in an article about DFA funds and what advisors were charging to access them posted on The Retire Early Home Page. I can no longer find the article to provide a link. The company is in California, my contact was in PA, and I am in OH. Everything was done via phone and email. I have no need to talk to anyone face-to-face. My funds were already at Schwab and that's where they stayed although they are now invested in DFA funds as directed by Evanson.

A list of references was provided and I selected several to interview prior to going with Evanson. Nothing they are doing is rocket science but they give me access to funds I can't get on my own. I knew this was the right choice for me after reading "The Four Pillars of Investing." There is a ton of information to read on their website which details their philosophy so you can determine if they are a good fit for you.
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieG View Post
Hi everyone,

I've had some meetings with reps from places like Wachovia and M&I, but I want to stay away from the salesmen for a bit and try to get some impartial financial advice. I've been seeing recommendations to use fee only financial planners. Does anyone have any experience or advice with this?

I'm having some problems finding one. I've done some google searches and yellow pages etc, but before I set up any appointments, I wanted to see if anyone on the boards knew of a decent fee only planner in Wisconsin/Northern Illinois, or any knowledge of a link which could help me locate one. I've looked at the site listed below. Any experience with these Cambridge people or the advisers they recommend? Does this Karen Folk look like a good place to start, or John Scherer?

Transferring to CAMBRIDGE ADVISORS
Folk Financial Planning - Fee-Only Financial Planning
Trinity Financial Planning

Thanks. Any help or advice is appreciated.

Eddie
You're not going to find fee-only advisors at banks, unless you have enough wealth to get into the private bank area of Chase or Northern Trust or someone..............
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by 73ss454 View Post
Eddie, JMHO but if you move over 250K into Vanguard you can have it done for free.
If you move over 1M they will give you a yearly checkup, also for free.
I think EddieG has questions that a Vanguard planner would not be able to answer.......most of what online planners do is asset allocation........
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:18 AM   #15
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According to his post I thought he was asking for help with financial advice. Maybe it's more involved but I have know way to know.
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:06 PM   #16
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According to his post I thought he was asking for help with financial advice. Maybe it's more involved but I have know way to know.
Looks like he wants financial advice from a fee-only planner, which is not DIY or Vanguard or Fido's "free plans"..........

Pretty much all "basic" financial planning software used by fund families is geared toward asset allocation.

I'm sure he will keep us posted..........
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