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Old 01-17-2012, 11:48 AM   #41
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...We have limited financial planning knowledge and have a short window to accept or decline my husbands early retirement offer. ...
Here we go again, folks. In case nobody has noticed, the OP seems to have disappeared the day after the original post. He/she came here for some information and assistance and just got a lot of noise. See the words short window in the original post. Congratulations.

Lots of bickering about fees and almost nothing about helping the OP with their decision.

I live in a neighborhood of lots that are just under one acre in size. Most homeowners here hire professional landscapers. I am in the minority of homeowners here who does his own yard. But you won't find me knocking on the doors of those who use professionals telling them they are stupid for paying for a service they could do themselves.

This discussion is not productive and should be closed.

Infoseeker, if you are still around, please start another thread.

Edit to add: I do acknowledge that there actually are some posts that are appropriate and on topic. But we could do without all the arguing over planner vs. DIY.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:08 PM   #42
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DH has a small inheritance that he left with the existing financial advisor. DH has no interest in investments. The advisor laid out for him in very brief terms with a pretty chart just where the money is, how the investments are rated, and how much the yield has been for ytd, one, five, and ten years, and that was good enough for him.

A lot of people on e-r.org wouldn't be happy with that (me included ); we'd be doing so much research on the investments that we would be just as well off investing them ourselves.

If someone can't see the difference between a financial investor and a surgeon, oh, well.

FinanceDude, you know the industry. What are your suggestions to the OP as to how to choose a good advisor?
1)CPAs and estate planning attorneys typically know the top advisors in a given area. Ask them whom they recommend.

2)You can easily look up an advisor on the FINRA website to see to do a background check. All you need are their first and last names. You don't even need to tell them you're doing it, and can do it before you even agree to meet.

3)if you do decide to meet, don't play games, just tell them your situation. Ask them how they are compensated, and is it spelled out clearly. Ask them if they use ISPs (investment policy statements). If they don't use them, I would be very leery.......

That's a start. With my referral sources, I provided them with a dossier on me, my background, etc,. Some call it a personal brochure. Potential clients like to see that before they commit to anything.........
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:20 PM   #43
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Here we go again, folks. In case nobody has noticed, the OP seems to have disappeared the day after the original post. He/she came here for some information and assistance and just got a lot of noise. See the words short window in the original post. Congratulations.

Lots of bickering about fees and almost nothing about helping the OP with their decision.

I live in a neighborhood of lots that are just under one acre in size. Most homeowners here hire professional landscapers. I am in the minority of homeowners here who does his own yard. But you won't find me knocking on the doors of those who use professionals telling them they are stupid for paying for a service they could do themselves.

This discussion is not productive and should be closed.

Infoseeker, if you are still around, please start another thread.

Edit to add: I do acknowledge that there actually are some posts that are appropriate and on topic. But we could do without all the arguing over planner vs. DIY.
Between the wide variety of responses and several thread hijacks, I agree the OP got some good info buried in a lot of "noise." I sometimes wonder what members responsibilities are when this happens; ignore, refute, PM, report/wait for a Mod to act, other? I've almost posted something like this several times, but I doubt it would be taken in good spirit very often if ever, and so I haven't.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:15 PM   #44
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Sorry FinanceDude, but your suggestions to find a CFP/advisor are practically useless.

Attorneys knowing "top advisors"? What's a "top advisor"? By whose definition? Most assets under management? Biggest stable of Mercedes? Just because big guns are using an advisor means little (I'm sure you are thinking of Madoff, here).

FINRA? C'mon. For example, I just looked you up. I like that amusing little bit about your fraternity friends. There is nothing in this report about the quality of advice that the person gives nor the fees, so as a screening tool, I think it has little value.

And there is a difference between a financial planner and financial advisor. I think advisors are mostly in the business of selling investments and annuities, while planners are perhaps giving advice on wills, estates, insurance, investments, retirement, social security, etc.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:34 PM   #45
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Sorry FinanceDude, but your suggestions to find a CFP/advisor are practically useless.

Attorneys knowing "top advisors"? What's a "top advisor"? By whose definition? Most assets under management? Biggest stable of Mercedes? Just because big guns are using an advisor means little (I'm sure you are thinking of Madoff, here).

FINRA? C'mon. For example, I just looked you up. I like that amusing little bit about your fraternity friends. There is nothing in this report about the quality of advice that the person gives nor the fees, so as a screening tool, I think it has little value.

And there is a difference between a financial planner and financial advisor. I think advisors are mostly in the business of selling investments and annuities, while planners are perhaps giving advice on wills, estates, insurance, investments, retirement, social security, etc.
Referrals from friends will be better than referrals from professionals, IMO.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:32 PM   #46
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Between the wide variety of responses and several thread hijacks, I agree the OP got some good info buried in a lot of "noise." I sometimes wonder what members responsibilities are when this happens; ignore, refute, PM, report/wait for a Mod to act, other? I've almost posted something like this several times, but I doubt it would be taken in good spirit very often if ever, and so I haven't.
IMHO the OP is missing a great opportunity to ask questions here. They haven't come back with any information about the retirement benefits or current investments. I think we would all agree that a fee only planner is the way to go and armed with the answers from this forum the OP could ask the same questions to prospective advisors and see if the answers came close to agreeing.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:07 PM   #47
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Indeed. I think it is really a pain-in-the-you-know-what to try to find a competent worthy CFP. It turns out to be quite a lot of work to find ones to interview, to interview them, to decide if they are competent, and to figure out what they charge and how, doesn't it?

And in the end, you are never really sure that you made a good choice, are you? There really is no such thing as a money-back guarantee, is there?
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:18 PM   #48
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Indeed. I think it is really a pain-in-the-you-know-what to try to find a competent worthy CFP. It turns out to be quite a lot of work to find ones to interview, to interview them, to decide if they are competent, and to figure out what they charge and how, doesn't it?
And in the end, you are never really sure that you made a good choice, are you? There really is no such thing as a money-back guarantee, is there?
And then you'll be wondering whether they're still competent.

At some point you'll have learned enough about screening the skills of prospective CFPs to maybe even figure out how to handle your own money!
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:23 PM   #49
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And then you'll be wondering whether they're still competent.

At some point you'll have learned enough about screening the skills of prospective CFPs to maybe even figure out how to handle your own money!
Agree. Looking for a compentent, trustworthy CFP may be just one more layer added on. In many ways, it's just easier to DIY and have no one but yourself to blame or take the credit for your own finances.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:56 PM   #50
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I think we would all agree that a fee only planner is the way to go and armed with the answers from this forum the OP could ask the same questions to prospective advisors and see if the answers came close to agreeing.
I think asking on message boards is a better way to go. You get a lot of discussion from a lot of people and if someone has a fact wrong there will be many eyes to catch it. If there isn't clarity in a response more questions can be asked. It is a great way to see different approaches to solving a problem or creating a plan.

I went to a fee only financial planner last year. This woman was an attorney and had passed the CFP exam on the first try. It was a fair amount of work to pull documents and fax them to her. We then met with her and provided information and talked for about an hour. Then we met again and received a financial report.

The report was lame at best in terms of depth. It was also filled with a lot of errors; our SS at age 62 was off by $10K and worse was that she had given us an estimate for what our SS would be if we worked until age 56 but didn't collect until 66.5 - even though she didn't have the information to compute that estimate, my pension amount was wrong, her projection of earnings was linear and incredibly elementary relative to firecalc, some of the numbers in her spreadsheet were on a pre-tax basis while others were on a post tax basis, and on and on. After two letters I received a full refund of $2,300. If someone didn't know much about finance and retirement planning they would have believed her numbers.

I can see why the answers to the OP were varied and why discussion took off. There really is no nice and neat answer to the question of how to find a good FP.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:15 PM   #51
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....
I went to a fee only financial planner last year. This woman was an attorney and had passed the CFP exam on the first try. ... After two letters I received a full refund of $2,300.
Wow, I'm glad you got your money back for that useless "plan"!

So how did you find this planner?
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:56 PM   #52
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Wow, I'm glad you got your money back for that useless "plan"!

So how did you find this planner?

She was listed in a local papers and had the right credentials. My partner and I both liked her as a person and felt we could work with her. I wonder if she had been on some kind of medication when she wrote that plan up.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:48 PM   #53
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Sorry FinanceDude, but your suggestions to find a CFP/advisor are practically useless.

Attorneys knowing "top advisors"? What's a "top advisor"? By whose definition? Most assets under management? Biggest stable of Mercedes? Just because big guns are using an advisor means little (I'm sure you are thinking of Madoff, here).

FINRA? C'mon. For example, I just looked you up. I like that amusing little bit about your fraternity friends. There is nothing in this report about the quality of advice that the person gives nor the fees, so as a screening tool, I think it has little value.

And there is a difference between a financial planner and financial advisor. I think advisors are mostly in the business of selling investments and annuities, while planners are perhaps giving advice on wills, estates, insurance, investments, retirement, social security, etc.
I agree with you. A good FP is great. Real world, How do you find that person. I think Nord's comment really sums it up.

To the OP, all of the post are correct. Just based on different life experiences. Hope your experience is a good one.

One suggestion. After you meet with your FP, please post your FP suggestions on this site before you take action.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:02 AM   #54
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We changed advisors last year. It took us about 4 months to narrow it down. We only considered fee only advisors. So far, we have been pleased with our decision.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:25 AM   #55
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Where's the OP in this discussion?
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:29 AM   #56
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Where's the OP in this discussion?
Hasn't been back online since this post (#15):
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+1, I'd ask here, at Bogleheads and Vanguard.
Maybe took the last 2/3 of that advice and ran?
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #57
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She was listed in a local papers and had the right credentials. My partner and I both liked her as a person and felt we could work with her. I wonder if she had been on some kind of medication when she wrote that plan up.
Always check a Lawyer's math, didn't someone ever tell you that Lawyer's don't do math?
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:29 AM   #58
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After saving enough money to be of interest to financial planners, I thought of retirement. Like the original poster, I wanted reassurances that I wasn't missing any hidden shoals before making the big, irrevocable sail.

I asked around and was soon deluged with offers that worked hard to redistribute funds, mainly to their bottom line, but only two that had any genuine interest in my financial security and well being and only one (Vanguard) that knew about tax laws in my circumstances. My test questions involved 'dumb beginners' annuity questions to see whether they would look at my circumstances, or take the dangling candy and run. Other questions involved asset allocation and fees for mutual funds. "Yum, candy!!!" was the result, even to smirking to my face while offering me the worst possible combination, in one case.

I am now taking the time to educate myself (with much help from knowledgeable, helpful, and sharing people posting here and at bogleheads). It also put me into the one-more-year club.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:26 PM   #59
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I've never paid for financial advice but wish I knew then what I know know. Now I am actually considering hiring a fee only advisor for 199/mo. Having someone rebalance my investments, access to funds in niche markets, continuity if I should pass before my wife, and just not having to deal with it for a while or for the long haul. It seems like a pretty good trade off. Flat Fee Advisors is the firm. Anyone dealt with them?
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:17 PM   #60
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After saving enough money to be of interest to financial planners, I thought of retirement. Like the original poster, I wanted reassurances that I wasn't missing any hidden shoals before making the big, irrevocable sail.

I asked around and was soon deluged with offers that worked hard to redistribute funds, mainly to their bottom line, but only two that had any genuine interest in my financial security and well being and only one (Vanguard) that knew about tax laws in my circumstances. My test questions involved 'dumb beginners' annuity questions to see whether they would look at my circumstances, or take the dangling candy and run. Other questions involved asset allocation and fees for mutual funds. "Yum, candy!!!" was the result, even to smirking to my face while offering me the worst possible combination, in one case.

I am now taking the time to educate myself (with much help from knowledgeable, helpful, and sharing people posting here and at bogleheads). It also put me into the one-more-year club.
Another person I can agree with. Your "wording" is better than mine.

I to, do the "test". Guess OP is gone. Shame. If they cannot handle differing views, on this site, I wonder how they will be able to handle a FP.
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