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Schwab retirement consultation
Old 08-10-2016, 11:26 AM   #1
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Schwab retirement consultation

Charles Schwab offers a "complimentary personal retirement consultation" to clients, which appears to be a one-hour phone call that covers:

-----
Where you stand now:
Your savings, income, and expenses—both current and projected
How your savings and assets can support you
Your comfort level with investment risk

What you want
When you want to retire (if you haven’t already)
Your desired lifestyle
Any major milestones you expect to achieve

How to move forward
Ways to balance income and expenses
How to generate retirement income from all available sources
Realistic options—even if your savings aren’t enough
-----

Sounds fairly reasonable and it don't cost nuthin', although for most of us on this forum it's probably not going to offer much we don't already know.

Has anyone used this service as a Schwab client? What did you think? I'm wary of what could easily become a thinly-veiled sales pitch for investment products.
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Old 08-10-2016, 11:47 AM   #2
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I have not used this service, but have been regularly hounded by the Schwab FC assigned to me, to do it and do it soon.

And yes, I feel that it is a thinly veiled sales pitch. After all, the FCs have to earn a living, and I understand that. But he will simply have to earn his living from someone else.
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Old 08-10-2016, 12:46 PM   #3
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Been there, done that at Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard. You go in expecting to be sold something, and in their mind, they are providing you a service while understanding where you can be lead to in their pot of funds or third party services to sell.

I was recently disturbed when I did the 1 hour with VG. They gave me someone other than the guy assigned under Flagship, who proceeded to sell me on their fee based allocation and re-balance model. The FA did not understand the term sequence of return risk, was fairly un-informed of the VG products we are currently invested in. I expected an education on their funds and allocation models, but found I could educate him.

My assigned adviser took it to heart to try and apologize for the statements like "if you don't sign up for the fee service adviser, you get to wait in line for the pool when you call". Clearly this was a sales call with someone who did not even have a clue we were Flagship level and able to buy into closed funds etc.
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Old 08-10-2016, 12:51 PM   #4
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No harm in listening. I've talked to Fidelity and Vanguard, no pressure. Sure they have stuff to sell, but it's not like talking to Jones, Ameriprise.....
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Old 08-10-2016, 12:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Happyras View Post
Been there, done that at Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard. You go in expecting to be sold something, and in their mind, they are providing you a service while understanding where you can be lead to in their pot of funds or third party services to sell.

I was recently disturbed when I did the 1 hour with VG. They gave me someone other than the guy assigned under Flagship, who proceeded to sell me on their fee based allocation and re-balance model. The FA did not understand the term sequence of return risk, was fairly un-informed of the VG products we are currently invested in. I expected an education on their funds and allocation models, but found I could educate him.

My assigned adviser took it to heart to try and apologize for the statements like "if you don't sign up for the fee service adviser, you get to wait in line for the pool when you call". Clearly this was a sales call with someone who did not even have a clue we were Flagship level and able to buy into closed funds etc.
And this is why most of my money is at Fidelity.
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Old 08-10-2016, 12:58 PM   #6
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Been through this with Fidelity. In fact we do it every year. It has lead to some good tax suggestions and forming a charitable trust. Nothing, but good.
Now I can't speak for the intentions of Schwab or the other guys.
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:06 PM   #7
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I did a free consultation with Ameriprise and was even granted a "free" companion airline ticket for my time. Kid knew almost nothing, and the companion ticket was only free if used with a full price ticket, so it was actually cheaper to buy a pair of discounted tickets. Hopefully Schwab is better.
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:15 PM   #8
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Retired last year and went through this with Fido. They are custodian of my 401k and also administer DB pension. No hard sell but they do want to assure you that they have wide range of products and services to offer. Most interactions I have they ask "why are you doing this?" They generally don't push once they hear my rational. One time I took withdrawal to buy NFCU CDs and the guy asked me how he could get one. I am very happy with Fido but if you're gullible and/or unfamiliar with your options I would want verification before making changes.


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Old 08-10-2016, 01:27 PM   #9
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We did both with Vanguard and with Schwab.

Vanguard was "good". They put a little effort in to making some suggestions on where and how we should move money, but for the most part, where we had money at Vanguard, was hard to argue with.

I finished the Schwab consultation and provided my FC with lots of details. He worked over the information I provided, did a very good job of understanding our portfolio, ran the numbers right to the "day of" us talking about it, so it was completely current.

Recommended a couple of balancing tweaks, but made no push for any of their products. Only suggestion was to "let's review this again in 18 months or so".
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Old 08-10-2016, 04:22 PM   #10
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My wife and I completed the Schwab consultation about four months ago as a santity check for my personal reitrement planning. We submitted a completed list of assets and accounts (at various institutions other than Schwab) then, about 2 weeks later, we met with the financial planner. The session took one hour, and provided us with a summary of income/expenses and a likliehood of success - kind of like a prettied-up Monte Carlo analysis. The Financial Planner gave us a couple good suggestions and addressed IRA to Roth conversion strategies and timing. All-in-all, not a panacea, but a worthwhile investment of time with no hard sell.
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Old 08-10-2016, 04:59 PM   #11
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I did one with the local Schwab advisor a few months ago. Didn't expect to learn anything I didn't already know, was looking for another perspective on early retirement and a strategy discussion on how to think about paying off first home. It wasn't a total waste of time, and wasn't a hard sell. It also wasn't super-compelling; if you've got an hour to spend on it and you go in with your eyes open, you never know what you'll find out but I wouldn't expect it to provide direction-changing feedback.
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:32 PM   #12
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I was very happy with the Vanguard advisors, but I'm Flagship with them. I did not have a good experience with the Fidelity advisor I spoke with years ago, but I really think your experience is directly related to the skills and personality of the individual you speak with more so than the company as a whole.

I can't think of any reason not to take the call and go through things. If it becomes a sales pitch just tell them you're not interested. Vanguard never tried to sell me anything, but they could see I did not need a lot of hand holding.


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Old 08-10-2016, 08:12 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the feedback. I will post back if and when I decide to take advantage of this. My nearest brick and mortar office is several hours away, so I would likely do it via phone.
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:13 PM   #14
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Last year, I took advantage of the free Schwab analysis offered by my assigned FC. I provided my family financial info on the forms and the FC sent me a draft of the inputs. I added a few items and corrected my mistakes to the forms. A few weeks later, we sat down for a 45 minute, very efficient, review of the results and forecast.

I too was waiting for a sales pitch, but there was none. The FC was very practical with his recommendations/suggestions. He touches base with me every 6-9 months or so, but since I do my own investing, our conversations are short.

I intend to use the results/forecast to make sure I stay on financial track. I may have Schwab update it every 2-3 years (for free).

Based upon my interaction with Schwab, I think it would be a worthwhile exercise.

I look forward to hearing how your session goes.



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Old 08-11-2016, 01:02 AM   #15
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:12 AM   #16
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My old guy at Schwab I never talked to him as his resume showed he graduated 3 years ago from a close by state school that I don't think much of. My new guy , also never talked to, is a VP and 15 years with Schwab. I may go in to see him someday but really would not expect much....I am committed low cost index fund investor (60/40) so "whats to talk about". I don't buy or sell an avoid re-balancing much as it triggers taxes owed.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:16 AM   #17
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My old guy at Schwab I never talked to him as his resume showed he graduated 3 years ago from a close by state school that I don't think much of. My new guy , also never talked to, is a VP and 15 years with Schwab. I may go in to see him someday but really would not expect much....I am committed low cost index fund investor (60/40) so "whats to talk about". I don't buy or sell an avoid re-balancing much as it triggers taxes owed.
There's a way around that. Hehe. He might share that with you.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:34 AM   #18
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Don't know about Vanguard or Fidelity, but the assigned Financial Consultant or VP at Schwab are already earning on your account. So, the need to hard sell is pretty much eliminated by the monthly earnings.

I did the same thing several years ago at Schwab with similar results. It was good, but, I was ahead of the curve based on my own reading.
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Old 08-11-2016, 12:45 PM   #19
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I enjoy my Fidelity reps advice. He does a good job listening to my plans and getting me to and keep at the AA I told him I was moving towards. He also validates some things I'm doing that contradicts some general advice that shows up most every where so I'm pretty sure he's not just reading off the company script.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:55 AM   #20
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This thread caused me to accept Schwab's offer a free consultation. I have an appointment at the local Schwab office on Thursday. If nothing else, the appointment motivated me to update my statement of investment goals and my retirement planning worksheet. I'll let y'all know how it goes.
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