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Fidelity courses/classes offered: anyone ever been to them?
Old 07-28-2010, 08:11 AM   #1
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Fidelity courses/classes offered: anyone ever been to them?

Fidelity has a good variety of courses and classes they offer to their clients at their branches. Has anyone ever attended any of them and are they worth the time to go? Or are they essentially nothing more than a sales pitch to invest in whatever they're selling today? I'm considering going to some that looked interesting, but stop me if it isn't worth the time, please.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:52 AM   #2
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I have. Since I'm about a 45 minute drive to their King of Prussia location, my wife/me have been there several times - twice before I retired and twice for offered classes.

The good? They gave me (classes, held mid-day) pizza/soda. No, they certainly were not sales oriented (at least the one's I attended).

The bad? They were covering subjects that either did not apply to me (e.g. taxable investing) or details of investment strategies of which I was already aware of. The course outline/offering could have been more detailed, IMHO.

What made the difference for me was that I was able to talk to folks on their development staff that worked with the RIP (Retirement Income Plan) software and were located at that site. Since I had retired from the IT field, we were able to "connect" in our conversation, and I've been involved with some of their beta testing for revisions.

My recommendation? If it is within driving distance and the forum sounds interesting, go. If it doesn’t meet your expectations, don't go again.

Anyway, that's my "opinion" on your question...
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:51 AM   #3
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You just confirmed what I was hoping to find, so thanks! I hope to find someone at Fidelity that I can ask questions of personally even if it's "raise your hands if you have a question" during the presentation. I have a number of specific questions I would like answers to and need someone knowledgeable to answer them.
These don't sound bad from your experience and certainly worth exploring. They seem to offer a great variety of classes IF you are in an area of the country they are even holding them in. Some areas have zip...like where I am right now. Another reason to go close to a major city to me.
Interesting how many courses they offer all over Texas now and in the past. Must be alot of investors down there? Amazingly, Florida has a number of courses but they are all over the State, which could be quite a trip as that is one long State really. Phoenix is pretty good and Chicago, too. It's pretty interesting where Fidelity is thinking their investors come from if you look at the class lists.

(I was hoping someone wouldn't say forget it or it's a total waste of time.)
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:57 AM   #4
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(I was hoping someone wouldn't say forget it or it's a total waste of time.)
I guess it is in the eye of the beholder. Their downtown office is very close to my apartment, and I got to know my account manager so I went to some classes/meetups. For me they were mainly social occasions, and not particularly appealing ones if you have other opportunities.

I think that other than some IRA or tax or estate oriented information, it is non-useful to negative. The one I remember best was the quarterly meeting in fall of 2007. Many of the attendees were pretty conservative, and Fidelity was flogging higher stock and stock mutual fund allocations. I decided to more or less stay away because I felt it was not a good influence, and it is hard not to be influenced at least somewhat.

They used to have coffee in the lobby; since that is gone I rarely even go in any more unless I need a notarization or a medallion stamp or somesuch.

The staff however is very nice.

Ha
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info. When I first got my FIDO account I ignored the offers to help me invest, but looking at the class offerings I see several on how to better use their website. There is a location just five minutes from the house, so I think I will be giving them a visit.

Update: Posted at the same time as Ha.
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I guess it is in the eye of the beholder. Their downtown office is very close to my apartment, and I got to know my account manager so I went to some classes/meetups. For me they were mainly social occasions, and not particularly appealing ones if you have other opportunities.

They used to have coffee in the lobby; since that is gone I rarely even go in any more unless I need a notarization or a medallion stamp or somesuch.

The staff however is very nice.
I'll try one out and report back - but anything I'm interested in is not scheduled until the end of next month.
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:06 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info. When I first got my FIDO account I ignored the offers to help me invest, but looking at the class offerings I see several on how to better use their website. There is a location just five minutes from the house, so I think I will be giving them a visit.

Update: Posted at the same time as Ha. I'll try one out and report back - but anything I'm interested in is not scheduled until the end of next month.
I think for the more technical aspects like you are looking for it should be useful.

Ha
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:11 AM   #7
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I guess it is in the eye of the beholder. Their downtown office is very close to my apartment, and I got to know my account manager so I went to some classes/meetups.
I take it she was pretty?
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:22 PM   #8
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No office in my little town. But I would probably take a course or two if I did live near one. Might learn a thing or two. I have my account rep scheduled to call me this afternoon, mainly just a touch base review. He's pretty laid back and doesn't try to force something on you. I enjoy talking to him.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:58 PM   #9
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Early in 2008, I took a class at Fidelity to learn how to better use its website. While some of it was not applicable to me (i.e. trades involving individual stocks), the other stuff I learned from it was useful even if not right away.

About a month after that, I met with one of their other reps to see if my ER plans were making sense. I was having some trouble with the Retirement Income Planner software but she showed me how to better use it. What I learned from the RIP I used to set up my own spreadsheet to do things the RIP software could not do, such as linking my month-by-month budget to the annual projection stuff the software does.

Unfortunately, she left Fidelity that summer so I was reassigned to another rep. However, all I had learned from the class and from the woman rep was very useful as I prepared to ER that November. I was using the website more and more, not only for the RIP but for stuff I used to do through the phone system.

Once I ERed and rolled my 401(k) into an IRA with Fidelity, I do nearly all of my stuff on the website, including an occasional update of the RIP. It was that initial website-improvement class I had in early 2008 which enabled me to more efficiently manage my accounts with Fidelity.
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
Fidelity has a good variety of courses and classes they offer to their clients at their branches. Has anyone ever attended any of them and are they worth the time to go? Or are they essentially nothing more than a sales pitch to invest in whatever they're selling today? I'm considering going to some that looked interesting, but stop me if it isn't worth the time, please.
Most of those folks are failed advisors who need a salary and a place to keep their security license active. You probably would learn more on here or on Bogleheads than what any Vanguard or Fido rep could tell you............
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:44 PM   #11
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Interesting comment, FinanceDude. I've spoken with more than one rep and most were pretty young (30's). Seems as if a number of them had bounced around some, which made me question their ability, unfortunately. But, for basic information, they either have it or can get it for me, so I see forging a relationship with someone there worth my time.
I'm looking at the classes as they can't hurt. Ultimately, tho, I am leaving it up to me to make my own decisions (mistakes and successes and all). Don't I sound like George Bush, Jr.?
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:58 PM   #12
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I take it she was pretty?
No, he was non-pretty but he had two assistants who were real stunners.

Do you suppose that their leaving more than the lack of coffee made it less interesting to go there?

Ha
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:34 PM   #13
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No, he was non-pretty but he had two assistants who were real stunners.

Do you suppose that their leaving more than the lack of coffee made it less interesting to go there?

Ha
Heheheh. Don't look at me. My office is a sausage-fest.
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