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How to find a Vanguard fee-only financial advisor in South Florida ?
Old 10-08-2011, 09:38 PM   #1
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How to find a Vanguard fee-only financial advisor in South Florida ?

My aunt needs help managing her $500k portfolio, she's tired of being pitched variable annuities by supposedly well-regarded financial advisors. I live far away so I don't know anyone in the area - how do I find someone who will get her out of the ~30 funds she's in and help transition her to Vanguard at a reasonable cost (1%/year is NOT a reasonable cost for this service). Frankly if they put her all in Wellesley that wouldn't bother me a bit.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:40 PM   #2
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Give Vanguard a call.
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Old 10-09-2011, 04:56 AM   #3
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How old is she?
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:01 AM   #4
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Vanguard will give her a free financial plan if she moves her assets there.

She could do a lot worse than just putting it all in Wellesley or a suitable Target Retirement Fund or even a Life Strategy fund now that they have improved the latter.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:22 AM   #5
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Yes, call Vanguard directly. You won't likely find an advisor who will help her invest in Vanguard b/c they don't make any money. However, if she prefers to work with someone face to face (versus on the phone or online with Vanguard) you could check out NAPFA.com for fee-only advisors in her area that who don't sell product.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by panacea View Post
Yes, call Vanguard directly. You won't likely find an advisor who will help her invest in Vanguard b/c they don't make any money. However, if she prefers to work with someone face to face (versus on the phone or online with Vanguard) you could check out NAPFA.com for fee-only advisors in her area that who don't sell product.
The problem with advisors is you have to know enough to know if the advice they are providing is quality. That being said, I would agree your best shot is with a Vanguard advisor.

I went to a FP from Garrett last year. She was very pleasant and easy to talk to. The financial plan however was filled with errors. Our SS payouts were off by $10k per year, our pension incomes were wrong, the age when I would draw my pension was wrong, the asset allocation she recommended didn't match the suggested fund percentages, she recommended 3 - 5 years of living expenses in cash but didn't count the cash as part of the asset allocation because cash wasn't an asset! The tables didn't have headers and the computations didn't show how she derived them.

She also suggested that we keep a 60/40 stock to bond mix in our tax sheltered accounts and also have bonds in our taxable accounts. When I questioned her she said it was to spread the risk?!

Damn, all of this is coming back to me. I had mentioned in our initial meeting that I would be dropping my life insurance coverage as it was no longer needed and I'd save about $2k per year. In the written financial plan she suggested I shop around for lower rates. I guess she didn't understand that life insurance should be based on need.

OK, I'll stop now except to say I was able to get my $2,300 back without too much difficulty.

This woman was a lawyer and had passed the CFP on the first try. I think in hindsight she didn't have much experience as a CFP and I also wonder if she was on medication.
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:00 AM   #7
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There must be a lot of commission in annuities, I think that if I wanted I could eat out every night with all the invitations I receive each week. I'd just have to be willing to listen to the pitch every night.
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:12 AM   #8
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I think in hindsight she didn't have much experience as a CFP and I also wonder if she was on medication.
Or maybe she needs to be?

Your experience makes me think the two financial advisors I've talked with (and decided not to employ) were geniuses by comparison.
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:19 AM   #9
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Aunt is in her 60s. In addition to the $500k, she has a small pension, SS, and owns her condo outright. I think she would prefer having someone she could meet face to face and feel comfortable with. She is intelligent (she knew enough to be wary of the variable annuity pitch) but not a finance person. Another wrinkle is that a large portion of her assets are tied up in a spendthrift trust setup by her husband who passed on unexpectedly a few years ago. I don't know what he was thinking when he set this thing up but I'm sure it complicates moving assets, and presumably there's an administration fee for it as well. Given the amounts of money involved it seems like total overkill.

I see my role in this as providing a sanity check on whatever the FA tells her. I will give family members limited financial advice but I do not manage portfolios because I don't want to get calls from them every time the market goes down.

I'll point her to NAFPA and see where that goes. The more I think about it, having her invest 100% in Wellesley does not sound like such a bad option.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:21 PM   #10
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The problem with advisors is you have to know enough to know if the advice they are providing is quality. That being said, I would agree your best shot is with a Vanguard advisor.

I went to a FP from Garrett last year. She was very pleasant and easy to talk to. The financial plan however was filled with errors. Our SS payouts were off by $10k per year, our pension incomes were wrong, the age when I would draw my pension was wrong, the asset allocation she recommended didn't match the suggested fund percentages, she recommended 3 - 5 years of living expenses in cash but didn't count the cash as part of the asset allocation because cash wasn't an asset! The tables didn't have headers and the computations didn't show how she derived them.

She also suggested that we keep a 60/40 stock to bond mix in our tax sheltered accounts and also have bonds in our taxable accounts. When I questioned her she said it was to spread the risk?!

Damn, all of this is coming back to me. I had mentioned in our initial meeting that I would be dropping my life insurance coverage as it was no longer needed and I'd save about $2k per year. In the written financial plan she suggested I shop around for lower rates. I guess she didn't understand that life insurance should be based on need.

OK, I'll stop now except to say I was able to get my $2,300 back without too much difficulty.

This woman was a lawyer and had passed the CFP on the first try. I think in hindsight she didn't have much experience as a CFP and I also wonder if she was on medication.
That's certainly a danger- it's hard to know upfront if the planner is truly qualified. This one wasn't even close based on your description. Usually, the CFP designation is a good indication they they have a good base level of knowledge, but not always. Certain professionals (like attorneys and CPAs) can avoid going through the cousework and simply take the exam... and keep trying if they fail. With such a wide range of experience and qualifications, I'd only talk to those have actually gone through the CFP program, have a number of years of experience and can provide several references. Still no guarantee but it should help to weed out the bad ones.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:33 PM   #11
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A face to face financial planner will not see much opportunity in a client with a $500K portfolio with a nephew that wants low costs and low turnover. There are some advisors that work online and meet that criteria, such as Evanson Asset Management - Main Page and Welcome to Cardiff Park Advisors . (Illustrating, not recommending). These advisors usually work with Fidelity and Schwab accounts, both have offices in South Florida.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:51 PM   #12
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Here's something straight from the horse's mouth, from Vanguard regarding the development of a financial plan (presumably with Vanguard funds):

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/wha...anningservices

It costs anywhere from $0 to $1000 -- $500K is the minimum in assets to qualify for a free financial plan ($50K-$499K is $250 and it's $1000 under $50K).
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Old 10-09-2011, 01:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by soupcxan View Post
Aunt is in her 60s. In addition to the $500k, she has a small pension, SS, and owns her condo outright. I think she would prefer having someone she could meet face to face and feel comfortable with. She is intelligent (she knew enough to be wary of the variable annuity pitch) but not a finance person. Another wrinkle is that a large portion of her assets are tied up in a spendthrift trust setup by her husband who passed on unexpectedly a few years ago. I don't know what he was thinking when he set this thing up but I'm sure it complicates moving assets, and presumably there's an administration fee for it as well. Given the amounts of money involved it seems like total overkill.

I see my role in this as providing a sanity check on whatever the FA tells her. I will give family members limited financial advice but I do not manage portfolios because I don't want to get calls from them every time the market goes down.

I'll point her to NAFPA and see where that goes. The more I think about it, having her invest 100% in Wellesley does not sound like such a bad option.
Is your aunt looking for someone to both handle the mechanics of moving her portfolio to a new investment house and to then make investment decisions for her? Or just to make the investment decisions?

If it's the former, you would be doing her a huge favor if you'd help her take care of the mechanics and then simply put the money in Wellesley or a Wellesley-like fund and be done with it.
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Old 10-09-2011, 01:29 PM   #14
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Aunt is in her 60s. In addition to the $500k, she has a small pension, SS, and owns her condo outright. I think she would prefer having someone she could meet face to face and feel comfortable with....
We have everything in Vanguard (it was the easiest rollover option of DH's 401k), but I know Fidelity and Schwab are both highly thought of here and both have offices in several places--maybe one of them has an office near your aunt?

Your aunt is lucky to have you looking out for her!
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Old 10-09-2011, 01:32 PM   #15
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Vanguard will give her a free financial plan if she moves her assets there.

She could do a lot worse than just putting it all in Wellesley or a suitable Target Retirement Fund or even a Life Strategy fund now that they have improved the latter.
I belive all you have to have is 300K at Vanguard to qualify for the free financial plan. I had one a couple of years ago, but it was very general though. (I filled out a questionnaire and they gave me a balanced asset allocation plan with index funds, but not much else, really.)
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