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Old 04-08-2013, 05:55 AM   #21
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I'm firmly in the camp that if you spend some time learning and keep it simple, one is far better off to be self directed. I'd also like to add that if someone makes a living providing financial advice/products, they are ALWAYS trying to sell you something. If you think that low key "free" consultation on retirement isn't an approach to have you retain their services then you're kidding yourself. Good example - a 55 page report? That sounds daunting, complicated and a lot of stuff I may not be capable of managing, maybe I should hire these guys.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:05 AM   #22
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When I was young I mistook the "advice" I received from an insurance agent and a stockbroker as thing that would help me financially instead things that help them financially. So having a gift for math I started reading a lot more about personal finances, taking a couple of classes on it at local colleges, and doing it on my own. Perhaps I am a little stubborn in that I would rather make a mistake on my own that put my trust in someone else and see them make a mistake. Also, I have been more of a "slow and steady wins the race" type of planner, and I seemed to encounter planners who wanted me to "swing for the fences" with my assets.

My Megacorp for about the last 15 years has given its employees free access to financial planners and planning tools, and I have used them more as a "sanity" check on my actions. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I went that, based on how they evaluated my goals, investment characteristics, and tolerance for risk, my investment mix was within a couple of percentage points of their recommendation.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:04 AM   #23
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Vanguard FP did a plan for us this year, but it was not very detailed, and just helped us feel comfortable that we weren't making any gross errors.

We find that we need to do most of the FP ourselves. Many aspects of financial planning seem to come down to personal choices and values. We're the only ones who can decide, after learning as much as we can, what asset allocation to choose, or what withdrawal rate to use, among other things.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:14 AM   #24
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<snip> I mistook the "advice" I received from an insurance agent and a stockbroker <snip>
The first misstep was going to an insurance agent and a stock broker for advice.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:55 AM   #25
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We engaged a FP this year to sanity check our status and to help teach me a bit more about tax strategy (because I'm simply not getting a clear understanding of that topic from reading stuff online).
I think we're going to do the sanity check/plan help in a fee only basis to feel more comfortable. I have had those big 'fears' of the jump and I think this will help me take the plunge.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:03 PM   #26
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:14 PM   #27
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Seeking ER this year (actually 5 weeks away) I too may end up using a FP to verify my AA and FI. All tools indicate I should be in great shape, but a second opinion may help my sanity.

Although the biggest challenge I would like answers from a FP is on the strategy in taking the money out. This is vastly different than the accumulation stage. Given the tax implications, SS strategies, when to take pension, etc this part to me seems pretty complex and something I don't want to mess up on.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:21 PM   #28
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Seeking ER this year (actually 5 weeks away) I too may end up using a FP to verify my AA and FI. All tools indicate I should be in great shape, but a second opinion may help my sanity.

Although the biggest challenge I would like answers from a FP is on the strategy in taking the money out. This is vastly different than the accumulation stage. Given the tax implications, SS strategies, when to take pension, etc this part to me seems pretty complex and something I don't want to mess up on.
Yep...I have concerns about that along with when/how do I convert my IRA to Roth [or should I] and how to ensure my fund will support us [should I ladder some bonds? Should we stay in stock?] while I could DIY I think the not feeling like I could do it without failing is keeping me locked in prison for longer than necessary....I am risk adverse.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:22 PM   #29
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Although the biggest challenge I would like answers from a FP is on the strategy in taking the money out. This is vastly different than the accumulation stage. Given the tax implications, SS strategies, when to take pension, etc this part to me seems pretty complex and something I don't want to mess up on.
The American College just came out with a new certification called a CRPC......I am taking the certification course this fall..............
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:39 PM   #30
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The first misstep was going to an insurance agent and a stock broker for advice.
Hey, I was young (21), fresh out of college, and these folks were recommended by one of my brothers . At least I made that mistake early in life while I was single. Its been all uphill since then.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:10 PM   #31
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I am a do-it-yourselfer but I do have an unpaid advisor (Account Executive) with Fidelity I can bounce ideas off. His predecessors were helpful back in 2007-08 as my ER plan was shaping up, helping me use Fidelity's Retirement Income Planner program to project my income and expenses in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term. They have given me some useful advice over the last few years (except for one AE I did not like and got switched to another one).
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:57 PM   #32
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I have always done it myself. Seems too important to let someone else handle it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:02 AM   #33
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I am also a do-it-yourself type of person. I asked for a couple of pieces of advice from professionals in the past but always had a better answer on the internet.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:21 AM   #34
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When she mentioned this & suggested switching to Vanguard her boss discontinued the 401k plan! No more company match...

Since then we've kept our mouths shut, and done our own planning.
Maybe that's what happened to all the former pension plans in this country
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:47 PM   #35
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Seeking ER this year (actually 5 weeks away) I too may end up using a FP to verify my AA and FI. All tools indicate I should be in great shape, but a second opinion may help my sanity.

Although the biggest challenge I would like answers from a FP is on the strategy in taking the money out. This is vastly different than the accumulation stage. Given the tax implications, SS strategies, when to take pension, etc this part to me seems pretty complex and something I don't want to mess up on.
I think this is excellent advice. Our tax preparer provides it & has saved us way more than he costs. A big thing is taking LTCG and keeping them taxed at 0% Fed tax rate - below ~$72K taxable income. Minimizing other income helps accomplish this. Note that we use a FA too, but that's pretty immaterial to this issue.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:06 PM   #36
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I explored fee-only financial planers through napfa, but all (three) of the local ones I called wanted "percent of assets under management". I said "What!?! I want a couple hours of your time and you want to charge me ten grand?"

There are many places I take ideas from, but you could say that I DO have a financial planner I rely on. He and I have exchanged very few words (I mostly listen). But I have received customized advice if I worded the question generally). Marotta On Money | Financial, investment, and wealth management advice. I met the senior Mr. Marotta on a cruise. He impressed me and I started following his son.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:35 PM   #37
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Hey, I was young (21), fresh out of college, and these folks were recommended by one of my brothers . At least I made that mistake early in life while I was single. Its been all uphill since then.
At least you started early.

I have seen people spend their whole careers accumulating assets only in their employers' retirement plans, retire and rollover to an IRA, then make huge mistakes because they were unfamiliar with handling large assets with little time to recover.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:03 PM   #38
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I used an independent CFP firm, with a written statement of w*rk (I wrote it very specifically) and an agreed upon price and product (analysis and report, retirement benefits analysis and what-if's, estate planning analysis and recommendations). I was minimally educated in FP from my own reading efforts at the time.

Once I felt more comfortable, I went 100% DIY. And still am.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:09 PM   #39
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Curious how many on this blog used financial planners versus did their planning themselves? What did you do?
Tried that for one year with the upfront understanding that if the net growth did not surpass the S&P 500 he would loose my business. Was told that this would not be a problem based on his past performance. I was his customer for 1 year.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:32 PM   #40
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We got general advice from our Fidelity assigned planner - he offered us some helpful tips and adjustments.

We also decided to try out their managed services account. They charge 1%. (We gave them 20% of our investments to manage.) On the plus side, they did some nice tax loss harvesting for us. On the down side, they keep the money in a dizzying array of funds and send us statements that are hard to decipher. Also, having some funds managed and some funds not managed made it hard to get a wholistic view of our asset allocation. It is almost like having two portfolios - one that you control and one that is a black box.

I got DH into reviewing the Bogleheads materials and we're going to pull those funds back into our own management this year. We'll still meet with our Fidelity advisor occasionally to listen to his input on our strategy, then make our own decisions.

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