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Subject:  Finding a good financial planner Date:  2/7/2005  11:23 PM
Author:  rrosenkoetter Number:  44370 of 76398

Or... help with investment plans.

So far, my wife and I have talked to several advisors and they're all idiots.

EVERY one so far has pulled on charts showing how much money a $10,000 investment would be worth if invested in so-and-so fund.

I point out to each one that the charts start in 1982, the beginning of the last bull market, and they just look at me blankly. "You got a chart of how that fund did from 1966 to 1982?" I ask. (The Dow Jones went from 968 beginning of 1966 to 1027 beginning of 1982 - yes, that a 6% TOTAL gain over SIXTEEN years. Bear markets are REAL. And we're in one now.)

Of course, they can't answer.

My wife and I actually have a good amount of money. Enough that if we could double it two or three times, we could retire... At 10%, that would be 14-21 years. At 7% (which I would be happy to get), that would be 20-30 years. And that doesn't count us continuing to save (which we will do). I'm only 35, so I have the 30 years if necessary.

But it's very hard being at this point. When we were first starting out, it didn't matter so much where we put the money. We were saving more each year than we were getting in returns for a while.

Now that the nest egg has grown, our choices are much more important. We haven't done very well for the last 5 years. Our retirement money has only grown probably 10% total since 2000 (and that's only because of our continuing contributions).

I'm reading and learning as much as I can, but what I see is that we're in a bear market... and I forsee another 10+ years of crap to negative returns. We just moved all our money to Vanguard (Yes, our last broker had us in B shares in high-fee funds), so we're starting from scratch there. All our money is currently in short-term bond funds (paying 3-4%).

Part of me wants to just stay there for the next 10 years until P/E ratios drop to the low teens or single digits again, and I can start buying index funds again, but of course almost EVERYONE (most people on these boards it looks like as well) tells me that's crazy... That one must stay invested...

And 3-4% is crap, if I ever want to retire. See, that's the problem. There's no reason we shouldn't be able to retire wealthy... but if I make the wrong decisions, I could blow our well-earned retirement on the lakehouse with the speedboat to take the grandkids tubing.

If I stick with 3-4% bonds, and the stock market goes up 8% a year for the next 10 years, I'm really hurt our retirment. If I invest in the market, and it crashes (and it certainly could), then I've hurt our retirement even more.

I need to talk to with someone competent, several competent people actually. I joined these boards hoping you all could help. I want to talk to someone who actually told his clients to get out of stocks anywhere from 1998-2000. Someone who recognized that a P/E ratio of 31 is bubble territory. Someone who has studied the history of the market.

If I can't find professional help that I can trust (and I'm not just looking for someone who will agree with me... I want someone who knows what they are talking about), then my plan is to do the following:

- Our current nest egg will remain in the short-term bond fund.
- Every month, I'll invest 1% of it in the market (spread among various Vanguard funds, mostly index), so it will take me 8 years to be fully invested again.
- Our continued savings will go 100% into the market (spread among the same Vanguard funds as above)

That's the best I can do on my own right now. Maybe as I learn more, I can come up with something better.

Comments would be most appreciated.

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