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Old 01-23-2012, 10:10 AM   #101
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ERD50, I've remodeled two complete bathrooms (thread is in this forum)and didn't find it near as difficult as learning how to invest. Reason being is I believe I'm mechanically inclined and it comes easy for me. Rebuilding my first engine came easy for me as well as my first major home reno but I wouldn't consider saying to you or any other member, that it's easier then dong your own investing, since I'm not in your shoes.

ERD50, if you tried to install a thermostatic shower system and totally remodel your bathroom, I wouldn't downplay the work involved even though I think the average person can do it with assistance. Don't you think being a member of FWF since 2007 isn't an attempt to learn it myself.
Again if my friend made an attempt to learn how to repair there own car and failed my advise wouldn't be it's easier then doing your own investing since I don't know how mechanically inclined they are.

On the automotive forum that I belong to, you'd be amazed at how many people can't diagnose a no start, even when we walk them through it. Yes we don't think anyone can do it. Some people take much longer to wrap there head around diagnostics. I'm not saying I'll never learn how to do my own investing, I'm just finding it much harder and longer to wrap my head around the whole concept.

Again, I don't want to feel that each reply of mine is an attempt to defend myself since I won't learn anything from that. If that's the case then there is no need to reply to this thread anymore.
Too bad some of the snarky replies you've gotten. However, I'm not sure your analogies apply. Being a DIY investor as most of us mean here, is usually as simple as establishing an asset allocation, picking low expense index mutual funds to fill out a portfolio, and rebalancing every so often. That can be done serviceably with 3 funds, if not 1. The fund manager(s) is doing the investing on your behalf.

DIY investing in the sense most of us mean here, using your examples, is probably equivalent to making some design selections and choosing a contractor, or picking a car repair shop among many choices (dealer, private all purpose, or specialty shop) - NOT remodeling your bathroom yourself or fixing your own car. There's a proven cost-effective middle ground method of DIY investing that almost anyone can master without an FP/FA, I think that's what folks are suggesting. FWIW...
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:17 AM   #102
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My Dream, I see by your profile that you're in Canada (saying "I see by...." always makes me think of that Smothers Brothers' song, "I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy," btw). Maybe investing is more or less difficult in Canada or just different so we here have a different frame of reference? I see Vanguard has a Canadian site: https://www.vanguardcanada.ca/portal...t-vanguard.jsp

Maybe someone there can be your FA no. 15
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:47 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by My Dream View Post
ERD50, I've remodeled two complete bathrooms (thread is in this forum)
Yes, I recall they were very well done, and that is why I mentioned it.

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and didn't find it near as difficult as learning how to invest.
OK, but I honestly feel you must be trying to make it more complex than it is. I'm trying to be helpful here, and I hope the comments about snarkiness or sharks teeth don't apply to my posts, there's nothing like that intended in any way, shape or form. I sure hope they don't come across that way.

Seriously, do you really find a 50-50 blend of two index funds as in the reference I made to Scott Burns 'Couch Potato Portfolio' to be complicated, or hard to get your head around? Perhaps you do - I understand that what seems obvious for some just 'does not compute' for others, we are all wired differently - no shame in that, it's just the way it is.

But that does still leave me confused. What process did you use to determine that your 13-14 planners were no good? Wouldn't the knowledge required for that determination be enough to allow you to DIY?

Following the car maintenance analogy - the people that I know that are self-admitted clueless about cars, are also clueless to determine if their mechanic is any good or not. How would they know if he did excess work, or shoddy work and blamed the breakdown on something else? So I just don't get how you are determining that your planners are not sufficient?



Quote:
ERD50, if you tried to install a thermostatic shower system and totally remodel your bathroom, I wouldn't downplay the work involved even though I think the average person can do it with assistance.
I've done two of 'em. While I do think the average person can do it (I could probably consider myself a bit above average when it comes to home/car maint), I really don't consider it easy. It was a lot of work, and many different skills required and a lot of research (which faucet; pipe cutting, fitting, sweating;which backing materials; dozens of opinions on waterproofing; which tile; which 'mud'; which grout, caulk; buy/make the pan; how to trim out the tile-wall junction, and much more). Yes, I think that is more complex than two index funds.

Quote:
Don't you think being a member of FWF since 2007 isn't an attempt to learn it myself.
I don't know - I don't even know what FWF is. But maybe they are pushing you into the 'deep dive' when something like the 'Couch Potato' is all you need?

As another parallel, if I sent someone interested in homebrewing to some of the home brew forums, they might start reading the 'deep dive' posts about monitoring pH at every step, computer controlled circulating mashes with precise temperature and time parameters, yeast cell counts, calibrated O2 systems, fermentation temperature controllers and a zillion other details, and they would decide that brewing beer is too complex for them. But you can make great beer simply - most of that other stuff is fine tuning the last 1% or shooting for very specific results. It isn't needed to make great beer, but some people are 'into it' at that level.


Quote:
Reading back through my post, based on the replies....... I don't think my message came across.
I think what you are saying is you just can't get your head around investing. OK, but I'll go back to what I said earlier - how are you evaluating your advisers? Do you really find two index funds hard to get your head around (it is a question - not a judgement)?

Why not just post your goals to a thread here - I'm sure people will come up with simple and appropriate suggestions. You can evaluate those as you would a planner, and it won't cost you anything.

I hope this came across as helpful, that is all I intended.

-ERD50
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:08 AM   #104
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Oh and doneff, I've tried to figure it out myself, as a matter of fact I've been a member of The Financial Webring forum since 2007 and have left several times since I needed to get a thicker layer of skin before returning.

I'm hoping I can learn from this thread rather then feel it's 10 against me, after all...... I left my knife at home.
Sorry if I came across as one of those "sharp teethed" posters you mentioned. I agree with ERD, handling your own portfolio is not as complicated as car mechanics or home remodeling. If you have gone through a few advisors (let alone 14) it seems you should realize that you are not getting any value add beyond what you would get from some of the simple approaches ERD mentions (e.g. the couch potato portfolios). In fact, you are almost certainly loosing ground to what these simple strategies would offer.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:56 AM   #105
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Fist off I want to applogize if my guard was up and I came across as harsh as that wasn't my intent. As for the original topic I'd have no problem starting my own thread as it seems we've come to middle ground and are truly starting to communicate. I also don't want to high jack this thread. Thanks for the replies as I do appreciate positive feedback.

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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Being a DIY investor as most of us mean here, is usually as simple as establishing an asset allocation, picking low expense index mutual funds to fill out a portfolio, and re-balancing every so often. That can be done serviceably with 3 funds, if not 1. The fund manager(s) is doing the investing on your behalf.
I agree my analogy was a bit far fetched but it was something I could easily relate to. Some of the terminology I'm unfamiliar with but I'll assume you're suggesting to decide where you want to place your money in certain mutual funds to complete the portfolio and move them around every so often depending on market conditions? My first question would be, how do you determine which funds are best?
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Maybe investing is more or less difficult in Canada or just different so we here have a different frame of reference? I see Vanguard has a Canadian site: https://www.vanguardcanada.ca/portal...t-vanguard.jsp

Maybe someone there can be your FA no. 15
I can only assume the the principal of investing is that same regardless of where you reside. I'm unfamiliar with what Vanguard is, other then maybe either a financial institution or a group of investors?
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Seriously, do you really find a 50-50 blend of two index funds as in the reference I made to Scott Burns 'Couch Potato Portfolio' to be complicated, or hard to get your head around? -ERD50
I haven't yet read the Couch Potato portfolio but will answer you when I do. As for index funds, I don't even know what index is.
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What process did you use to determine that your 13-14 planners were no good? Wouldn't the knowledge required for that determination be enough to allow you to DIY?
I was always under the understanding that a person used the services of a financial advisor/planner in order to make there portfolio grow. After all everyone has the choice to invest in something that is guaranteed to make say 2% per year with out the need for a FP/FA, not accept any risk although it would barely keep up with inflation. The direction I took and I'll back track oh say.....that last 5 years, is we accepted several risk levels and eventually accepted the highest risk level since I was tired of hearing, "you're portfolio is growing based on your risk level" and allowed the establishment to invest in any funds they felt would give us the best return. My way of determining whether the advisors were "any good" was to base how well they invested our portfolio. In the last 5 years in total we are down 10%. The way I see it, we were better off going with a 2% guaranteed investment without the need for an advisor and make approximately 2 % per year. I sometimes see paper work asking if we want to invest in certain funds that will yield 4.7% and I agree yet, we still haven't recovered our principal amount from 5 years ago.
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Wouldn't the knowledge required for that determination be enough to allow you to DIY?
-ERD50
Absolutely, maybe I haven't found the right teacher, or the right books.
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I don't know - I don't even know what FWF is.
-ERD50
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Why not just post your goals to a thread here - I'm sure people will come up with simple and appropriate suggestions.

I hope this came across as helpful, that is all I intended.

-ERD50
I think that's a great idea, thanks for the suggestion and your post was helpful, thanks
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Do you really find two index funds hard to get your head around (it is a question - not a judgement)?-ERD50
To give you an indication of my financial knowledge, as I stated earlier I don't even know what an index fund is.
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If you have gone through a few advisors (let alone 14) it seems you should realize that you are not getting any value add beyond what you would get from some of the simple approaches ERD mentions (e.g. the couch potato portfolios). In fact, you are almost certainly loosing ground to what these simple strategies would offer.
I really don't know if I'm getting any value, what I do know is for many years I haven't made money, is that considered not receiving any value beyond what ERD mentioned?
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:23 PM   #106
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I agree my analogy was a bit far fetched but it was something I could easily relate to. Some of the terminology I'm unfamiliar with but I'll assume you're suggesting to decide where you want to place your money in certain mutual funds to complete the portfolio and move them around every so often depending on market conditions? My first question would be, how do you determine which funds are best?
Just as you have to educate yourself and do some research to pick bath components, contractors and auto repair shops (continuing with your analogies) - some education and research is essential to successful investing. Here's a few specific portfolios and funds Lazy Portfolios - Bogleheads - a good place to start. You can do well with these methodologies as-is, or as you educate yourself further you may select other and/or more funds once you're comfortable doing so.

Have you read The Coffeehouse Investor, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing or the like?
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:50 PM   #107
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Fist off I want to applogize if my guard was up and I came across as harsh as that wasn't my intent. As for the original topic I'd have no problem starting my own thread as it seems we've come to middle ground and are truly starting to communicate. I also don't want to high jack this thread. Thanks for the replies as I do appreciate positive feedback.

I agree my analogy was a bit far fetched but it was something I could easily relate to. Some of the terminology I'm unfamiliar with but I'll assume you're suggesting to decide where you want to place your money in certain mutual funds to complete the portfolio and move them around every so often depending on market conditions? My first question would be, how do you determine which funds are best?
I can only assume the the principal of investing is that same regardless of where you reside. I'm unfamiliar with what Vanguard is, other then maybe either a financial institution or a group of investors?
I haven't yet read the Couch Potato portfolio but will answer you when I do. As for index funds, I don't even know what index is.
I was always under the understanding that a person used the services of a financial advisor/planner in order to make there portfolio grow. After all everyone has the choice to invest in something that is guaranteed to make say 2% per year with out the need for a FP/FA, not accept any risk although it would barely keep up with inflation. The direction I took and I'll back track oh say.....that last 5 years, is we accepted several risk levels and eventually accepted the highest risk level since I was tired of hearing, "you're portfolio is growing based on your risk level" and allowed the establishment to invest in any funds they felt would give us the best return. My way of determining whether the advisors were "any good" was to base how well they invested our portfolio. In the last 5 years in total we are down 10%. The way I see it, we were better off going with a 2% guaranteed investment without the need for an advisor and make approximately 2 % per year. I sometimes see paper work asking if we want to invest in certain funds that will yield 4.7% and I agree yet, we still haven't recovered our principal amount from 5 years ago.
Absolutely, maybe I haven't found the right teacher, or the right books.
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I think that's a great idea, thanks for the suggestion and your post was helpful, thanks
To give you an indication of my financial knowledge, as I stated earlier I don't even know what an index fund is.
I really don't know if I'm getting any value, what I do know is for many years I haven't made money, is that considered not receiving any value beyond what ERD mentioned?
Very few people have made any money, including most on this forum. There just wasn't any to be made in stocks the last 15 years unless you were lucky. If you wanted to make money in the past decade you needed a substantial amount of bonds. Some say that 90% of ones returns are dictated by their asset allocation. So the steps are: determining the amount of bonds you want in your portfolio, diversifying your holdings across asset classes and rebalancing when the percentages get misaligned. You should also familiarize yourself with systematic vs. Unsystematic risk. Diversifying Helps protect you from these. Most of us did not include terrorism or widespread financial fraud or massive government incompetency in our portfolio construction and those 3 things have had the most to do with the anemic returns of stocks.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:10 PM   #108
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Very few people have made any money, including most on this forum. There just wasn't any to be made in stocks the last 15 years unless you were lucky. If you wanted to make money in the past decade you needed a substantial amount of bonds. Some say that 90% of ones returns are dictated by their asset allocation. So the steps are: determining the amount of bonds you want in your portfolio, diversifying your holdings across asset classes and rebalancing when the percentages get misaligned. You should also familiarize yourself with systematic vs. Unsystematic risk. Diversifying Helps protect you from these. Most of us did not include terrorism or widespread financial fraud or massive government incompetency in our portfolio construction and those 3 things have had the most to do with the anemic returns of stocks.
That is to say, very few have made significant returns on stocks. Those with a more balanced portfolio have done rather well. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of them. My stock portfolio was well diversified but .....So going forward a more balanced approach will either outperform again or it won't. No one can tell you which.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:23 PM   #109
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Fist off I want to applogize if my guard was up and I came across as harsh as that wasn't my intent. As for the original topic I'd have no problem starting my own thread as it seems we've come to middle ground and are truly starting to communicate. I also don't want to high jack this thread. Thanks for the replies as I do appreciate positive feedback.

I agree my analogy was a bit far fetched but it was something I could easily relate to. Some of the terminology I'm unfamiliar with but I'll assume you're suggesting to decide where you want to place your money in certain mutual funds to complete the portfolio and move them around every so often depending on market conditions? My first question would be, how do you determine which funds are best?
I can only assume the the principal of investing is that same regardless of where you reside. I'm unfamiliar with what Vanguard is, other then maybe either a financial institution or a group of investors?
I haven't yet read the Couch Potato portfolio but will answer you when I do. As for index funds, I don't even know what index is.
I was always under the understanding that a person used the services of a financial advisor/planner in order to make there portfolio grow. After all everyone has the choice to invest in something that is guaranteed to make say 2% per year with out the need for a FP/FA, not accept any risk although it would barely keep up with inflation. The direction I took and I'll back track oh say.....that last 5 years, is we accepted several risk levels and eventually accepted the highest risk level since I was tired of hearing, "you're portfolio is growing based on your risk level" and allowed the establishment to invest in any funds they felt would give us the best return. My way of determining whether the advisors were "any good" was to base how well they invested our portfolio. In the last 5 years in total we are down 10%. The way I see it, we were better off going with a 2% guaranteed investment without the need for an advisor and make approximately 2 % per year. I sometimes see paper work asking if we want to invest in certain funds that will yield 4.7% and I agree yet, we still haven't recovered our principal amount from 5 years ago.
Absolutely, maybe I haven't found the right teacher, or the right books.
Financial Web Forum.

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I think that's a great idea, thanks for the suggestion and your post was helpful, thanks
To give you an indication of my financial knowledge, as I stated earlier I don't even know what an index fund is.
I really don't know if I'm getting any value, what I do know is for many years I haven't made money, is that considered not receiving any value beyond what ERD mentioned?
My Dream. Your thoughts reflect mine. Though, others have a different mindset. And I think they cannot see your (our) point of view.

When investing, the goal is to make money. I've heard every recommendation:
asset allocation, diversification, invest for the long term, don't panic, purchase equities because of inflation, you cannot time the market, purchase some international, the list goes on.....

Again, the goal is very simple. Make money. Not lose money. Make more money than a simple CD. (zero risk). FP/FA have many recommendations.
Yet, their clients are not making money. And our told the "same story".

I still think Nord's advice is the best. Learn and

Oh, check out, Zvi Bodie, Professor, Boston Unversity. Author of, Worry-Free Investing. His views on equities are very informative.
DIY.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:28 PM   #110
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Fist off I want to applogize if my guard was up and I came across as harsh as that wasn't my intent. As for the original topic I'd have no problem starting my own thread as it seems we've come to middle ground and are truly starting to communicate. I also don't want to high jack this thread. Thanks for the replies as I do appreciate positive feedback.
Really learning to be a good investor takes interest, time, some money, and a certain habit of mind. Most here do not believe it is possible to be a really good investor, only that it is possible to minimize drag from expenses, transactions, and taxes-and to choose a reasonable allocation and very complete diversification within the bounds of that allocation. To achieve this level of skill should take at most about one week.

The easiest 1+% you will ever make is when you go it alone, get rid of the parasite FP. They may be very helpful in certain areas, but you do not need them to do index investing or to achieve the goal of most internet posters, average performance of the markets that you invest in.

You already know the books to read, or just forget the books, call up Vanguard and have them suggest a very basic AA and low cost funds to fill these slots. Then do it, and every Dec 15 review and consider rebalancing to return to your chosen AA.

Ha
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Old 01-23-2012, 05:13 PM   #111
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Fist off I want to applogize if my guard was up and I came across as harsh as that wasn't my intent.
No apology necessary. Dealing with 35 year old rusted trailing arms would make the best of us a little snappy.

Take heed to Ha's thoughtful post above.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:27 PM   #112
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On the automotive forum that I belong to, you'd be amazed at how many people can't diagnose a no start, even when we walk them through it. Yes we don't think anyone can do it. Some people take much longer to wrap there head around diagnostics. I'm not saying I'll never learn how to do my own investing, I'm just finding it much harder and longer to wrap my head around the whole concept.
Again, I don't want to feel that each reply of mine is an attempt to defend myself since I won't learn anything from that. If that's the case then there is no need to reply to this thread anymore.
Reading back through my post, based on the replies....... I don't think my message came across.
I suspect that your financial advisors weren't getting your message either. Or they were able to distract you with BS that your detector wasn't tuned for.

Seriously, though, you've developed the skills to determine whether a home-improvement contractor or a mechanic is spouting BS. It's probably similar to the skills you'd need to determine whether a financial advisor is spouting BS.

But maybe you don't need to develop more BS-detection skills. Over at the Financial Web Ring they're probably laughing at you for not knowing what an index fund is. Instead of feeling thin-skinned about it, try starting at someplace on your own like the Bogleheads Wiki and then upgrading to a Bogleheads Guide or a Rick Ferri book or a Larry Swedroe book.

I watched my daughter race through high-school math classes all the way to probs & stats, matrices, vectors, and differential equations. I watched her do the same with physics. But for some reason she decided she was unable to race through anything in chemistry.

The trick for her was approaching the subject in enough different ways that something finally clicked with her. (In her case, a college tutor and the MIT videos. Embarrassingly, it sure wasn't dear ol' Dad and his chemistry degree.) So maybe you should keep looking for different ways until you find something that clicks-- whether that's Otar or Bernstein or Clyatt... goodness knows you can't swing a dead cat on this forum without hitting at least six different approaches to investing. That's because there are probably a thousand different ways to make money through your investments, and they all work to one degree or another... assuming that you find one you're comfortable with.

As for finding a good financial advisor: I suspect they're awful hard to find. Certainly a lot harder than finding a good mechanic. Luckily you don't need a good mechanic and you probably don't need a general contractor to change your lightbulbs. The same level of knowledge is achievable in your personal finances.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:38 PM   #113
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I am wondering what the masses on here would define as a "good advisor", over the years I have come to know it as "a knowledgable person who will spend many hours with you for free".........

Pay-by-hour FAs are a dying breed, most if not all of them survive by charging a yearly fee or a fee on AUM. If your overhead is $10,000 - $12,000 a month or more in practice, you need a LOT of billable hours at $100-$200 an hour to make that work.........
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:51 PM   #114
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For many years I paid for the so called "good advisor". With all due respect I'm glad that's over with. I was never sharp enough to figure out when my advisor sent me pictures of his kids every Christmas. When I finally figured it out it was a bit late but I moved everything over to Vanguard. It's much cheaper to use their advisors for free if I wanted to. Since no one can time after time successfully know what the market is doing, what would one need an advisor for. As long as you are diversified and rebalance from time to time, what else is needed.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:26 PM   #115
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I was never sharp enough to figure out when my advisor sent me pictures of his kids every Christmas.
Maybe they just wanted to demonstrate that they were applying your fees in a fiduciary manner?
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:44 AM   #116
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It's much cheaper to use their advisors for free if I wanted to.
So, VG advisors are good advisors because they're free? How do you know you're getting good advice?
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:41 AM   #117
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For many years I paid for the so called "good advisor". With all due respect I'm glad that's over with. I was never sharp enough to figure out when my advisor sent me pictures of his kids every Christmas. When I finally figured it out ....
So you also now send Christmas cards with pictures of your kids to your clients as well? And you pay your kids modelling fees for the photos since they did work for your business? And you opened Roth IRAs for all that earned income your kids made? And you deducted their modelling fees as a business expense?
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:47 AM   #118
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Here's a few specific portfolios and funds Lazy Portfolios - Bogleheads - a good place to start. Have you read The Coffeehouse Investor, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing or the like?
I’m not sure if Canada has Vanguard, but my question was not answered before, what is Vanguard?

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Very few people have made any money, including most on this forum. There just wasn't any to be made in stocks the last 15 years. If you wanted to make money in the past decade you needed a substantial amount of bonds.
And this is what confuses me since the TSX had gone up to it’s highest point until 2008, wasn’t there an opportunity to make a substantial amount of a return up until that point? Now I know we don’t have a crystal ball but when the housing crisis happened in the States wouldn’t it have been wise to stick with bonds until things got more settled?

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That is to say, very few have made significant returns on stocks. Those with a more balanced portfolio have done rather well. Unfortunately,
I wasn’t asking for significant returns, I was asking for a reasonable return and not only did I not get a return, I’m way down.

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When investing, the goal is to make money.
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Again, the goal is very simple. Make money. Not lose money. Make more money than a simple CD. (zero risk). FP/FA have many recommendations.
Yet, their clients are not making money.
If you have consistently not made money with several advisors would you consider any of them “good advisors”?
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I suspect that your financial advisors weren't getting your message either. Over at the Financial Web Ring they're probably laughing at you for not knowing what an index fund is. Try starting at someplace on your own like the Bogleheads Wiki and then upgrading to a Bogleheads Guide or a Rick Ferri book or a Larry Swedroe book.
When I tell an advisor that I want to make money and I haven’t, what part didn’t they understand? As for the Financial Web Ring, at first I thought it was the way I presented myself, but after receiving numerous pm’s from fellow newbie’s stating the same concerns and frustration I knew I wasn’t the only one. I know there are several members on this forum that are also members on the FWF so I hope I haven’t stepped on any toes.

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I am wondering what the masses on here would define as a "good advisor",
To me a good advisor is one that looks after your portfolio and in let’s say 5 years you’ve made money. I poor investor is one that makes more money that you have over the same time period. I figure in the last 5 years I’ve paid close to $50,000 in fees and I’m down more then that. Would they be considered good FA? Would you say that establishment that has invested my money has benefited much more then I have? It would have been nice if I made as much as they have…………NO?
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:50 AM   #119
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I’m not sure if Canada has Vanguard, but my question was not answered before, what is Vanguard?
The Vanguard Group - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:02 AM   #120
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It looks like Vanguard is offering ETFs in Canada:
https://www.vanguardcanada.ca/portal...commitment.jsp

MyDream: ETFs are exchange traded funds. You can purchase shares of index ETFs that will perform much like an index mutual fund. Unlike the mutual fund you will pay a small transaction cost whenever you buy or sell shares. Also unlike a mutual fund you will be able to sell (or buy) ETF shares at any time during the day, not just close of business. Some people here prefer ETFs to mutual funds, others of us prefer mutual funds and many of us are not sure which to prefer.
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