A few of you have posted your experiences with the Vanguard Free "Financial Planning" service. I put financial plan in quotes because what they basically provide is an asset allocation plan. You can ask them about withdrawal strategies and other stuff, but the actual plan doesn't have much of that. I'm 55 and plan to RE at the end of 2007.
Well today was my day to review my plan. I got a letter in the mail inviting me to participate and I took them up on it. The planner told me we had 45 minutes, but the call lasted about an hour.
The funds they recommend are pretty consistent with what others have already reported here. Here are their proposed allocations for a combination of taxable and IRA accounts:
US Large 27%
US Mid/Small 11%
It's conservative, but I'm comfortable with it. I asked the planner (Eric) about why Morgan growth, for example, instead of S&P500 and why I should get rid of Target 2005 and Target 2015 and the answers he gave were pretty good. I had a few $$ in 2005 and 2015 and his reasoning behind getting rid of them was that if I was going to slice and dice, then I should really slice and dice and not have anything in the one-stop shopping type funds. However, if I wanted to do a no brainer type portfolio, I should just put everything in Lifecycle conservative growth and leave it . He was very professional and not condescending. There were also some changes to the online questionnaire that needed to be made because I couldn't figure out where to put everything when I filled it out. He noted them and in about an hour I had a new plan available online.
We talked about withdrawal strategies, Roth conversions, tax implications (originally they had me putting most of my non ira bond funds into the intermediate tax-exempt fund, but after I told him I planned to retire next year, he said that didn't make sense). I also have some $$ in Selected American and they didn't suggest I sell it. I also love Wellesley so they didn't suggest I dump that either. He also said that I can use this service every year for rebalancing, which I like.
All in all, I was very pleased with this service. A few years ago, I paid a financial planner to put together a plan and what he gave me was not nearly as useful as the free Vanguard plan. Of course, I've been reading this board for about a year now and know a lot more than I did a few years ago so maybe that comes into play.