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Fee-Only Planner and NE Houston
Old 07-11-2015, 06:15 AM   #1
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Fee-Only Planner and NE Houston

I guess I'm pretty dejected at this point. All these years of hearing "find a fee-only FP". Wow, good luck finding one, at least here in NE Houston area (Kingwood, Humble).

Maybe it's just me being naive. I thought I could give someone the details and walk out with a 3-4 year blueprint.

I don't really think I need one, thanks to you guys and the Boglehead forum, but the DW would like to talk to someone. We're in the class of 2016. I'd like her to have someone we can trust. Actually, her EJ guy is pretty good, but only on that account. He won't look at the entire portfolio. Personally, I hate her having it in EJ because of the fees, but it's her inheritance and it's never been moved.

The questions are about "mortgage or no" (probably no), SS early (probably yes), convert IRA's to Roths post retirement (probably yes - a bit at a time), and maybe some AA advice (unneeded).

What I find are wealth management guys, wow no way am I paying nearly 1% a year for that! They'll do a more limited plan, but at $2500 a year. Holy Cow!

I can go back to one of the guys I've already met and ask for something different and negotiate the price, I suppose.

Any advice?
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Old 07-11-2015, 06:56 AM   #2
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Wouldn't it be nice to find an advisor that's getting paid for the time spent? I don't care about spending $10K for a printed booklet projecting out my investments in the long term and sharing my "good fortunes" with an annuity salesman.


I would like just a little advise pointing me in the right direction from time to time. Otherwise, I have to spend quite a bit of time studying investments online.


I did find a very experienced fee paid advisor (CFP), but I checked her out online and found a personal bankruptcy. I obviously ran the other way.
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:13 AM   #3
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Reminds me of meeting an older nice gentleman on a fast train in Italy a few years ago. He was still working as a FA. Had too much debt and made too many bad decisions, mainly in real estate in Florida, to retire. I've been very happy with my FA only paying 1/4%. Finding a FA takes a lot of work to find someone you are compatible with.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:26 AM   #4
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I can only wish you luck.
A few years ago I was interested in the same thing, so I went to the NAPFA website.

I checked out all the planners listed within a reasonable driving distance, and every single one wanted some kind of "assets under management" fee. Most of them disguised it as well as they could with convoluted formulas and wording, but they were essentially AUM.

One of them was especially egregious, because they insisted on basing their fee on my total net worth. Not just what they would manage, and not even just my liquid net worth -- everything!

So I just decided to relax. DIY has been working well so far.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:51 AM   #5
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We are DIY types with most of our long term plans, but three years prior to actually pulling the trigger, we went to a fee-only adviser to analyse our financial situation. It was worth the $2,500 to get a series of options for us to consider. (Of course, we were pretty spot on with our own analysis.)
Seven years later, I still pull out the plan to affirm that our goals are still in reach.

As fortune would have it, our local PBS station had a weekly financial show with guest panelists and over the years we found a few that fit our style. I can't believe that Houston does not have qualified planners that would be willing to do an analysis.

Check out the Financial Planner Association@ Financial Planning Association Find a Financial Advisor Or Wealth Management Professional | PlannerSearch
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:24 AM   #6
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Over a year ago I also used the NAPFA site to try to locate a fee only advisor. I wanted someone that was also CPA. I was planning to retire and wanted someone to review our plan for gaps or errors and tax efficiency.
Provided pages of data, previous tax returns, etc to him before our meeting.
We met and reviewed my current portfolio and situation (majority of current investments in TSP and Vanguard). He said DH and I had done well and could afford to retire based on his software generated analysis (gave me a copy). However, he could manage our portfolio to do better! He suggested using the TSP funds to purchase two annuities and to move our Vanguard funds to his fund.
Not interested. This appointment did not cost me anything and I walked away with the output of the software generated model.
My friend did find a fee-only advisor. She supplied the same data to this advisor and received a very similar software generated analysis. Looked like the same output as the one I received. The advice/feedback she received was that she could retire within 5 years and that she needed to cut back on her expenses and spending. She knows she has a "shopping addiction". This cost her $2500 and she had to badger the advisor for the computer generated printout.

There certainly seems to be a gap in the industry in providing what many retirees or future retires are looking for from the financial planning industry.



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Old 07-11-2015, 09:32 AM   #7
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While our FP doesn't have brick and mortar in Houston we've been quite pleased. We met originally at our kitchen table. When he travels through the area we get together for dinner and or golfing. And do a telecom at the end of each quarter to review results and discuss any changes.

We were looking for someone that would help us a plan, AA, different scenarios, setting up all the different accounts (pre-taxed and post-taxed), accounts for our grandchildren, life insurance, umbrella insurance, integration with our CPA, and the accessibility to speak real-time when we had a question regardless how trivial.

My wife is also planning to punch out in 2016.

Good luck!
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Old 07-11-2015, 10:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by serie1926 View Post
While our FP doesn't have brick and mortar in Houston we've been quite pleased. We met originally at our kitchen table. When he travels through the area we get together for dinner and or golfing. And do a telecom at the end of each quarter to review results and discuss any changes.

We were looking for someone that would help us a plan, AA, different scenarios, setting up all the different accounts (pre-taxed and post-taxed), accounts for our grandchildren, life insurance, umbrella insurance, integration with our CPA, and the accessibility to speak real-time when we had a question regardless how trivial.

My wife is also planning to punch out in 2016.

Good luck!
And what are you charged for this? -ERD50
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Old 07-11-2015, 11:01 AM   #9
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Might not be what you are looking for but Vanguard will, depending on your assets, give you a detailed but cookie cutter analysis and a long distance Skype conversation. For 30 basis points, based on funds under management, they will handle stuff for you. If that helps.
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Old 07-12-2015, 06:39 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies. I guess I wasn't off base that much. I'll keep looking, but doubt I'll find much based on your replies.
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Old 07-12-2015, 08:41 AM   #11
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Not sure why the advisor needs to be close, but a fee only advisor firm that isn't too far away from you is FPL in Slidell, LA. I have no experience with them.
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:06 AM   #12
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Update, I told the advisor that I wasn't interested, especially in some of the items (moving all assets to Chas Schwab, $2500 fee).

His response was that there was a misunderstanding. If I want to keep my assets where they are and just have a one time evaluation, it'll be $750.

Not pleased at all that he seems to be only offering 'cheaper' options when I basically head for the door. I responded that I'd like to see an example of the type of document we could expect. We'll see what I get.
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:45 AM   #13
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An update. We went ahead and spent the $750. He prepared a booklet of information that we filled out, then we met with him twice before he completed the document.

It lays out our current situation, then he suggests an investment portfolio and finally projects out the next 40 years. Of course, using market assumptions. 5% return for a 50/50 allocation.

All in all, I was pleased. He didn't try to sell us anything, he didn't 'bait and switch' us. I'd be comfortable with my wife going to him if something happened to me.

He did confirm that we're good to go next year. Also that conversions from IRA to Roths once I stop drawing a salary is the way to go.

No mortgage was recommended, even if we need to sell some investments to get there. Had figured that out myself, but it's nice to get confirmation.

The portfolio breakdown - nothing too surprising. Bonds in the tax deferred, Equities in the taxable.

His investment recommendations - hmmm - interesting. I told him I was a big index fund guy. We suggested all no-load funds, most with ER < 0.5%, but they're ALL managed funds. His explanation is that he keeps up with them and selects ones with higher past performance, stable management team, return vs. category, risk vs return. When I pushed him on the index funds, his answer was that I was buying the mean or median performance and he was selecting something a bit better. Maybe so, but he also has to do something to keep himself in business. If he puts everyone in index funds and never moves anything, then he's not doing much to earn his money.

I rushed right home and tallied up the large/mid/small cap breakdown, growth/value breakdown and started looking at matching the portfolio with very low ER index funds.

Was it worth $750? Beats me, I'm glad we did it. He seems like a trustworthy guy and most of the information was valuable.
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Old 09-26-2015, 07:32 AM   #14
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What would you expect to pay per hour for a fee only planner that is a CFA, previously worked at a major financial firm and well respected in the community? I'm not looking for buying any type of plan, I do my own investing and simply need to talk to someone once a year for ideas and confirmation of my thinking. thanks.l
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:36 AM   #15
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I'd expect an hourly fee of $125, with a minimum of 3-4 hours. Reports might cost additional.

Total $500-750.

The questions you ask drive the time that the advisor must spend. I'd eliminate questions that have common answers.
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:55 PM   #16
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What would you expect to pay per hour for a fee only planner that is a CFA, previously worked at a major financial firm and well respected in the community? I'm not looking for buying any type of plan, I do my own investing and simply need to talk to someone once a year for ideas and confirmation of my thinking. thanks.l
From the 2012 Allan Roth AARP article linked in another thread:

Quote:
Itís not cheap: I charge up to $350 an hour. Other hourly planners can be found through the Garrett Planning Network, a group of more than 300 planners who generally charge $180 to $240 an hour. (I am not a member of this network.)
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Old 09-27-2015, 05:16 AM   #17
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... his answer was that I was buying the mean or median performance and he was selecting something a bit better...
Anyone who told me something like this would have me immediately heading for the door.
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Old 09-29-2015, 11:31 AM   #18
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It's a ways from Houston, but I had a great experience with Stone Asset Management in Austin, TX. Fee only, no sales pressure, nice folks...
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Old 09-29-2015, 11:53 AM   #19
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NPAFA.org is where you find a fee only fiduciary. Nothing wrong with a phone consultation.
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Old 09-29-2015, 12:18 PM   #20
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Correction to last post, try "NAPFA.org"
And thanks for posting. I didn't know there was a place to look up those resources.
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