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need help for FILs retirement
Old 04-13-2011, 09:17 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Mar 2011
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need help for FILs retirement

I'll try to keep this short, but bear with me. My MIL passed away unexpectedly this past Dec. Five days before their official retirement from a lifetime of working on the family farm. There are no words. On top of everything else, it was my MIL who did all the finances and retirement planning. FIL has no interest in any of this and has asked DH to help handle it for him. The other 2 brothers are ok with this and any decisions would be made with everyone involved. While we feel very good about where we are in terms of FIRE planning for us in 15 years, we certainly have a lot to learn about what to do RIGHT NOW for FIL. I guess I 'm hoping there is some checklist out there for the first year- we've read Boglehead's Guide and that has helped, but we are so scared we will miss something "big". FIL has about $500K in a variety of accounts and an annuity I think. He sold a ton of farm equipment in 2011, several ponds end on 2010 and signed and a ten year lease that will generate 18K a year (beginning in 2011) so he is pretty flush with additional cash (maybe $250K) right now and doesn't need to touch his retirement yet, unless for some reason he sign SS (we are finding that out this week). He isn't sure he is getting social security (I know, I know) he may have signed something in Nov. He is already on Medicaid. His house is paid for- no debts, we don't know his living expenses yet, this is the first year they haven't had farm-related expenses but I'd say low COL.

DH and FIL met with their Financial Advisor who was a certifiable fruitcake. OK DH was biased before he went in, but the meeting did nothing but raise red flags. It was a sales pitch and he was pretty evasive about fees etc. We got print outs of everything and will spend some more time delving into what they own and how it has performed. We are considering transferring everything over to Vanguard and setting him up with their FA rather than try to make it work with this guy. I spoke to a Vanguard and the transfer of retirement accounts seems easy enough- but we know it is not smart to sell all at once just to move it into Vanguard- but I have to say, this is appealing to DH. Who would like to simplify things. (but obviously not at the cost of losing money unless taking some losses this year would offset FIL's high income this year due to above mentioned sales) Anyhow, what a position to be in. We aren't doing anything anytime soon- this post is really just asking what we should be asking and considering including when to call in the pros! Unless that is what I'm doing now.

Sorry I posted this in the wrong forum too- yup that's about right for me these days
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:27 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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Sorry for your loss. I am strictly an amateur in the investment space but I would not stress about moving $$$ from someone who gives you bad vibes over to Vanguard all at once. If FIL is already in the market, moving in bulk from one advisor to another is not the same as taking cash and moving it all into stocks at once (which is where phasing in is generally recommended). Sounds like you should also be talking to a CPA regarding the taxes.

On the other hand, there is no need to do something tomorrow. So take your time and ask lots of questions!!! Remember - the only stupid question is the one not asked!
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:47 PM   #3
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You may want your husband to have a power of attorney for his father and make sure that the wills are updated properly. Depending on your knowledge of investments, taxes and estates, you may also consider investing $1,000 in a qualified fee-only financial planner that you will trust - to provide some advice. If your husband wants to do some of the financial work on his own, the financial planner would get you pointed in the right direction - and make sure you don't miss something BIG. I'm not sure a Vanguard FA would preform all of the tasks that may be necessary. I use Fidelity, and they will recommend people for me, if I need something that requires some expertise.

Good luck, and I'm sorry for you loss.
Retired in 2011 at 54
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:37 AM   #4
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Thanks all. Very good point about POA and wills. The one thing we could do to honor MIL is keep the farm in the family, so some planning regarding how that passes to the next generation is important. Plus, it is where DH and hope to retire. A financial planner vs advisor is who we need. And I hadn't thought about the fact FIL is already "in the market" so moving accounts- after considering all options- may not be too bad. Especially when you factor in the crummy fees and "advice" currently given from their FA. DH and I are more committed then ever to FIRE after this experience. While she never officially retired early- and would be the first to say running a farm is NOT easy, MIL lived the life she wanted where she wanted with the love of her life. A wonderful example for all of us.
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