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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2008
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    79

    Default Financial Planner needed- not sure where to start?

    My husband and I are in our mid 40's. We have retirement accounts that are just passively sitting. We have decided to consult a financial planner, but are unsure as how to find a decent one.
    Any suggestions/information welcomed!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,776

    Default

    Consult several financial planners, since you need to audition them to see who has the best advice, and you need to know how they earn their fees. Watch Suze Orman or read her books and she'll warn you about the sneaky things some planners do to screw you, but earn themselves huge commissions on products that are not in your best effort. Variable annuities are a huge ripoff for most people, but earn the planners a giant commission. And be wary of anyone who offers you a return that is too good to be believed (remember Bernie Madoff?). You need to be comfortable with the amount of risk involved, balanced against your return on investment. And advice must be geared to your specific situation, your proposed retirement age (Suze Orman and others say retiring before you qualify for full Social Security is a financial mistake in most cases), and whatever financial obligations you have (college bills for kids, credit card debt, other obligations), and your financial needs into retirement (are you planning to retire elsewhere, or pay off the house and stay where you are, etc). If you get a bad feeling about someone run.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2001
    Location
    12th floor of the Acme building in a city that knows how to keep it's secrets.
    Posts
    4,910

    Default

    We have been to a couple. We were comfortable with the scenario where they charged us a flat fee to go over our stuff and give us an initial 'reading'.

    I have a friend who is a financial analyst and he said the best payment scenario is where you pay someone to manage you money based on a fee (shouldn't be more than 1%.) The more money you make, the more money he makes.
    *****
    You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2000
    Location
    NE TN, USA
    Posts
    6,201

    Default

    http://kiplinger.com/
    Click on the "magazine" tab at the top of the page. They usually have a $12/year introductory rate. We've subscribed to them for over 50 years, back when they were know as "Changing Times". Their advice works! It's kind of a "get rich slowly" approach.
    “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
    John Adams



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,399

    Default

    What a timely thread! I was just telling Allah last night that I needed an answer like this.

    Do I need one of these pros? Or some other kind?

    I'm like Midge. I need a short "reading."

    My financial life is dirt simple and my portfolio of assets thin and unsexy. I know a bit about building retirement, credit and taxes. I can assemble all of my for the Pro-- what I have, where it is, what its earning, how liquid (or not) it is, what I make, my age, credit score, what I'll make in the next few years and yada, yada in 20 minutes.

    So I need a Pro who will help me take that and the outstanding debt I have (help me consider a new tax situation too) and help me make a master plan that looks like: "Ok, here's what you do for 2 years, 5 years, 15 years and why you'd do that."

    Make sense? Can it be done? By whom?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2010
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    2,352

    Default

    I just learned that because we have two homes mortgaged with our bank (Wells Fargo, formerly and partly still Wachovia), we receive free financial planning services.

    We have not accessed this service yet, but plan to. I've never done anything like this, but I'm thinking it would be wise. I feel "lost" when it comes to this stuff, and I want to be "found".

    They essentially told us to make a list of our needs, hopes and dreams and they would help us see what is realistic and what is not - that sounds really helpful.
    Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
    W. C. Fields



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,465

    Default

    Well, having assets that "just sit" is not the worst of all evils.

    "Churning" is the frequent changing of assets from one account or from stocks to something else etc etc, and my neighbor lost quite a bit of a life insurance settlement that way. I gather that the advisor took a commission after each sale, so it didn't matter whether the gross value of the portfolio went up or down in the long run, each sale generated the commission. So if you were to pay a fee you want it to be based on the value of the portfolio at a point in time which will get your agent or broker working to make your portfolio more valuable rather than staying the same or sinking. (although I've heard that they'll leave your stuff in something underperforming too vs anything remotely risky)

    I know my Mom has a financial planner but I really don't know how she selected her. I might talk to my tax advisor here if I were going to really look.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2006
    Posts
    1,868

    Default

    I worked in the industry for over 15 years. There are a lot of shady dealings, shady brokers out there. I would suggest looking into Charles Schwabb- they treat their employees really well, and will therefore attract high quality reps. They are known for their customer service.

    I also have a few I'd stay clear of - based on insider knowledge-but would not post them publically!

    Definitely interview until you find someone you are comfortable with. You should expect them to ask you a lot of questions, get a good understanding of your overall financial picture. Also make certain you read any prospectus before investing- you are legally required to be given this information.

    Good luck. You can also educate yourself very easily these days on investing, but most do not want to take the time. A very broad rule of thumb would be someone in their mid 40's aggressively would be 80/20 stocks to bonds, more conservatively 60/40 stocks to bonds.

    However, it has been proven a few times that a monkey throwing darts at a board can pick stocks just as well as an investment advisor LOL!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2008
    Posts
    79

    Default

    Wow! Thanks for all these great responses and suggestions. Feels like we have enough info to get started.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2000
    Location
    NE TN, USA
    Posts
    6,201

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ReSomething View Post
    Well, having assets that "just sit" is not the worst of all evils...
    These days it's called "preservation of capital". Makes a lousy interest rate sound almost thrilling.
    “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
    John Adams



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2001
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    1,997

    Default

    Personally I would not work with a FP who works on commission, period. We all know how well "works on commission" and "ethics" go together. I pay mine a flat fee for his services, how much it is depends on how actively we need his services (some years, a lot, some years, not at all). If a FP tries constantly pushes one company's products, I fire them immediately.

    Also, I would not work with anyone who did not have a Certified Financial Planner credential, which means passing a 10 hour exam, a background check, a criminal history check, and three years practical experience.
    Proud Member: Bull-snap Haters Clique, Michigan Clique, and Appaloosa Clique!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2008
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    509

    Default

    There are a number of great posts by and about financial planners on Get Rich Slowly. I believe there's also one that lays out how to pick a good financial planner: http://www.getrichslowly.org



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