No. of Recommendations: 0

I'm 65 and drawing a small SS check, my wife is 56, quit her job teaching and will draw a small retirement check when she reaches 60 years old. I put my pension into an IRA along with my 401k when I retired. We have everything paid for, house, cars etc.
I have talked to several "financial advisers" some like American Express, A. G. Edwards, Edward Jones, and a small "fee only" firm that charges 1.25% and buys mostly no load mutual funds. I can also "buy" and hour ($100.) of this persons time and "validate" and get advice on the funds I own that I keep in Schwab and Vanguard.
American Express claims to offer many things, tax advice, budgeting, all kinds of financial advice and they take their fee out of "loaded" funds in the American Express acount. It really sounds good but I just have an uneasy feeling that the "fee only" firm might be far less expensive in the long run. Or I may just keep "validating" several times a year.
Love to have input on this.

Thanks, Tom
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No. of Recommendations: 3
AMEX has loaded funds and worse, they tend to be mediocre
Take a look at Put in any fund you are
considering and you will see whether it has been performing up
to its peers.
If you must have an advisor, pick the fee-only one.
Read and study. You may be very happy making your own decisions.
It has been a tough market for the last year and the only ones
who made money were those in bonds--which probably won't be the
right choice over the next several years.
I inherited some AMEX (then IDS) funds and kept them for several
years since my parents had already paid the loads; when they
tacked on a 12b1 fee, I sold the whole bunch and really should
have done it sooner. Look at Vanguard. If you want actively
managed funds, Janus has historically been good although they
have recent problems; Fidelity has lots of research, also has
not done as well recently as historically.
good luck, and stay away from AMEX!
Best wishes, Chris
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Personally, I'd go with the "fee only" advisor, it may sound like more money up front but in the long run it will save over being "nickled and dimed" to death with all the "load" fees. For example, say you have an account worth $500,000. A 1.25% fee would costs you $6250 right off the bat, reguardless performance. That same $6250 could buy you 62.5 hours of advice, enough for 15 years if you meet for one hour each quarter or probably enough to last your life expectancy. AND that just for one year's loaded fee, not to mention what you'd pay each successive year. That goes to show you have much fees can eat up. Keep this in mind, however, is the fee only advisor "independent", that is, are they free to sell any product or are they tied to specific company. They may give great advice, but if stuck with selling American Express products, the results might be terrible. Also, what is the fees associated with that product, see above example again. You might want to use the independant advisor for general advise, and learn more here at the Fool for buying specific stocks.

Good Luck,


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No. of Recommendations: 1
I once had an IRA with American Express. Luckily, I escaped after becoming educated to the fact that noload funds can be better for me than the Front end & back end loaded AmEx IDS fund. The thing that provided the impetus for me was the hard, hard sell they put on to get me to buy a variable annuity from them inside my IRA.

The only people whose interest they serve is American Express and the self interest of the sales person. They are not serving your best interest.

The experience cost me some load fees but I consider myself lucky to have gotten away cheap.

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