No. of Recommendations: 2
1. I found no better piece explaining the cost of "expenses" than Intercst's. Unfortunately you have to wade through the Matson piece to get to the heart of the matter. The charts on the percentage of your revenue that go to either taxes or cost are VERY important. If you added things like healthcare expense or food, you'd probably find that those are often lower than "professional" expenses too. I don't see much evidence in any data that advisor's increase return, but acknowledge that they can provide piece of mind and creditable advise.

2. Our 403b options are with TIAA-CREF. I'm satisfied with the cost of their options and they are relatively low. One feature TIAA-CREF has in my plan is personal consultation. Twice a year DW and I visit their counselor. She is VERY good, disagrees with me often (which I appreciate), and has an excellent rapport with DW. Should I take the dirtnap she is exactly what I want for DW, and we pay nothing out-of-pocket.

Free? Well, both TIAA-CREF and Vanguard are non-profit, but I'd estimate that CREF mutual fund fees are about .25% more than any similar Vanguard Fund, and I'd assume that Edward Jones funds are much more. Using the $1 million illustration that means we're paying $2,500 per year for that advice from TIAA. I don't have any choice at this point, and indeed am VERY satisfied, but I'll need to see if about $500 per hour is what we want to pay when we are both retired.

3. IMO investment costs are about the biggest factor related to investment success. The smaller, the better. However, my huge enjoyment in managing our portfolio is in NO way shared by my bright, successful, professional spouse. She a LOT better at more important things. But, we've got a plan to insure that the portfolio is largely "put into low-cost automatic" with a twice yearly review by someone we both trust and with whom she has rapport.

Also IMO, you could use Intercst's charts to find a guideline of say 1/3 of yearly retirement SWR income tax costs if you need personal consultation, using low cost Vanguard funds as perhaps a benchmark. That might be a useful measure to guage how much you're spending.

Interesting discussion.

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