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Thu May 14, 2020, 09:39 AM

Do I need some sort of financial advisor?

I need to make investment decisions having to do with retirement. Never have used a financial planner or done much with investing before. Am in the process of educating myself, including reading e.g. Jane Bryand Quinn's and Suze Orman's books on retirement, Paul Merriman's stuff, etc.

Earlier this week had 1 meeting with an "investment advisor" recommended by an attorney I've used. The guy is not a CFP or fiduciary and was evasive when I asked how he would be compensated (he mentioned commissions on the products but not ongoing charges which I am sure would be incurred). He's drawing up a plan for me which I want to see but it's unlikely I will be using him.

Can I educate myself and handle investing my retirement money by myself? Or e.g. use a fee-only fiduciary to help in the initial phase, then take it from there? There seem to be rather standard guidelines on what to do at each life stage, and I really, really don't trust the financial services industry to have my best interests at heart. I am willing to spend however long it takes educating myself but don't want to make mistakes that could have been avoided if I had consulted some sort of professional.

And, any recommendations on good resources or books to read?

Thanks.

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 09:43 AM

1. we talked with an adviser from Fidelity and he was great!!!...

...and hubby is VERY sharp on these things (cuz he loves this stuff) but he learned a lot from the adviser. It cost a very tiny bit but it was totally worth it and now we have a goal and a plan that will keep us financially fit all during retirement...and assure us that our daughter will have at least some $$ after we pass. That's the kind of peace of mind we wanted and the adviser happened to work for us.

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 09:47 AM

2. I was confronted with that choice last year and decided to go with a financial planner.

When my significant other died suddenly last year, he left a very significant 401K to me. I didn't know jack about investing, so I got a referral from the estate attorney I hired. She's been great. She diversified the funds in such a way that it hasn't taken a huge hit since the market tanked. If you think you can educate yourself sufficiently, I say go for it; I just didn't trust myself enough. If you do go to a financial planner, make sure you do a lot of research to ensure they're legit. Good luck!

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 09:49 AM

3. I 'inherited' one from my family

and he manages most of my assets. I'm actually sending him more to manage.

well worth it! I totally trust him and he has made us quite a lot of money. I always know that my investments are 'safe' (well, safe enough!)

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 09:50 AM

4. If you are willing to pay small fees and have a

Retirement plan at work, you can do it yourself. Most employer plans offer an array of stock and bond and other fund. Some may offer other types of funds. If Vanguard is among the choices, it is a shareholder owned firm with low fees for index funds. If you are 35, for example, you would want to put a relatively high percentage of your money in an S&P 500 fund plus invest in a bond index fund.

The fund management fees will eat into your gains but risk is spread across many companies and industries in index funds.

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 10:01 AM

5. Our financial advisor is local. We used him because others we trusted

vouched for him and were doing very well with his guidance. Keeping up with the changes in taxation and age requirements for required withdrawal demands a lot of time, energy and mind power. We feel as if we’re in good hands. I had some health issues earlier this year and I could never have kept up with that job myself.

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 10:02 AM

6. I have been investing for myself since my first professional job

out of graduate school. My first husband is a UCLA educated PhdD economist, wrote a book about investing, and has spent his career owning/managing an investment firm. My second husband and I used to watch Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser every Friday night until he passed away about 15 years ago. Over the years I subscribed to various newsletters from financial advisors.

I'm now pushing 70 and dependent upon Social Security, survivors benefits from my deceased husband's Federal pension, and interest/dividends generated from my investments. I'm comfortable financially, and in the last two weeks decided to stop renting and buy a small house. I will be able to qualify for a mortgage with my income.

So, you can do it yourself if you have the interest and time to educate yourself. The discount brokerage firm I use, TD Ameritrade, has financial advisers in their local offices, but I think due to the coronavirus those offices are not currently open. I have never used one of their advisers, although I get calls from them occasionally. I prefer to make my own decisions.

With the internet, you can do a lot of research on your own, if you are so inclined.

Good luck!

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 10:26 AM

7. I recommend

Edward Jones

You can self direct with “help” from and advisor. Interview with a few in your town. They don’t make the kind of commissions the big boys do and will allow you to hold your account(s) there, send you quarterly and yearly statements, etc.

My two cents

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Response to Wawannabe (Reply #7)

Thu May 14, 2020, 11:57 PM

13. A second recommendation for Edward Jones

Their advisors are good and their goal is not to make money off you, but to help you manage your money long term to meet goals they help you select.

My husband and I each hand individual accounts and Roth IRAs, plus he has a 401k that he rolled over to Edward Jones when he retired.

There will be more than one Edward Jones office in most towns, so do talk to the different people in the offices to find someone you can talk to and be comfortable.

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 11:28 AM

8. I like dealing with Fee only advisors... the advisors that make a commission tend to churn the pot

buy/sell, buy/sell to make commissions. I have small part of my investments with a trusted person who has a fiduciary responsibility to ME! He's a good guy and has kept most of my principal in tack in my retirement..
Works for me! YMMV
m

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 01:35 PM

9. Commissions are a red flag for me. Means he will get paid more if he sells you certain products.

It makes you wonder if he is selling these investments to benefit you or to enrich himself.

If a product is so good, why would they pay out commissions to move them?

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 03:05 PM

10. If you do hire a financial adviser, be sure that she or he is a fiduciary. Nt

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 06:42 PM

11. One thing to look at is robo advisors

Note sure if it would work for you, but Schwab now offers one whose "base service" has 0% advisory fees and 0% commissions (they have a non-free premium version that gives you access to financial planners). If I didn't do everything by myself, I would likely use something like this, mainly because I don't like complicated investments, and I am cheap. You can google for reviews.

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Response to not fooled (Original post)

Thu May 14, 2020, 10:29 PM

12. Ask more questions of any potential advisor.

I have one I trust a great deal, even though his conservative politics are not mine at all. He's honest and completely open about what he's doing for me.

Some back story: I married a man with well off parents who gifted him, then us two, then also our two children each and every year until they died. I had already done some small amount of investing, when a woman I was taking a class with at my local community college turned out to be a broker at one of the Big Name Investment Firms. She was more than happy to handle my very small sums of money, and gave me confidence in investing.

My husband also had an account with that firm, which was comfortable. The gifts from the parents, which we never saw as money to spend, but as money to save and invest, were highly appreciated. When our sons got into their teen years, I'd take them to the investment firm office to meet with our advisor and have some input into how their money was invested.

Of course, over time, brokers move on to other firms and we got shuffled around, and about 20 years or so ago got this particular guy, who I'll call Scott. Scott is ex-marine, politically conservative, incredibly honest and open. After a few years he left Big Name Investment Firm to go to a small outfit just starting out. By this time my husband and I were divorced, and back when we were divorcing Scott asked if I'd be okay with his continuing to manage my ex's accounts. He felt his first loyalty was to me. I was fine with his managing my ex's. Anyway, I transferred everything to his new firm and could not be happier. He had more leeway as to what he could do for me than at Big Name Investment Firm, and it's been good. One thing he did was to get me into a couple of annuities, which I started taking the money from about a year ago. That gives me a steady stream of money, along with Social Security, a small pension, and money I can take from my other investments.

If you are interested, PM me I'll give you his contact information.

Oh, and after the divorce I moved from the Kansas City area to Santa Fe, NM, and see no need to find a different investment advisor.

But, back to my original point. Do not hesitate to ask lots of questions of any potential advisor. None of your questions are stupid.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #12)

Fri May 15, 2020, 12:38 AM

14. Thank you for sharing your experiences

Your advisor definitely sounds like one of the good ones. I send you a DU PM.

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Response to not fooled (Reply #14)

Fri May 15, 2020, 12:53 AM

15. Responded to the PM

Whatever you decide, I hope it works well for you.

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