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Several of the articles concerning retirement investing suggested that, before retiring, it would be WISE to consult a financial planner for advice on withdrawing or rolling over any 403b annuities or taking a lump sum distribution. Does The Fool have a list of financial planners they could recommend? Short of looking in the yellow pages, I wouldn't know where to begin.



























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Several of the articles concerning retirement investing suggested that, before retiring, it would be WISE to consult a financial planner for advice on withdrawing or rolling over any 403b annuities or taking a lump sum distribution. Does The Fool have a list of financial planners they could recommend? Short of looking in the yellow pages, I wouldn't know where to begin.

I have found word of mouth to be the best way to find a financial planner, an accountant, a lawyer or any other professional you might need. I would start by asking your friends, relatives, coworkers etc if they have a financial planner they have had a good experience with and would recommend to you. Chances are your friends aren't going to refer you to someone who screwed them. If they do it is time to find some new friends. ;o)

AlyKat
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casperdog, you asked:

<< Several of the articles concerning retirement investing suggested that, before retiring, it would be WISE to consult a financial planner for advice on withdrawing or rolling over any 403b annuities or taking a lump sum distribution. Does The Fool have a list of financial planners they could recommend? Short of looking in the yellow pages, I wouldn't know where to begin. >>

Besides asking people you know and respect with regard to financial issues for referrals, you might want to visit the following web page from the CFP web site to request referrals of a few qualified planners located near you:

http://www.fpanet.org/plannersearch/plannersearchmain.cfm
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IMHO, every one here would suggest that you should tackle the problem posed: e.g. management of your §403(b) assets. Now, you will find wild disagreement on how to tackle the problem.

IMNSHO, you may or may not need a financial planeer; but not for the issue posed. For the issue posed you should consult with a CPA / tax accountant.

That being said, one tends to look for financial planners & CPA's in the same way. I would start with your: friends, lawyer, banker, current accountant, etc. to develop a list of recommendations.

TheBadger
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I would start by asking your friends, relatives, coworkers etc if they have a financial planner they have had a good experience with and would recommend to you. Chances are your friends aren't going to refer you to someone who screwed them. If they do it is time to find some new friends. ;o)

Assuming that your friends are somewhat financially savvy, of course. If they aren't paying attention to fees, loads, rates of return, etc, they really aren't qualified to offer suggestions...
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<<That being said, one tends to look for financial planners & CPA's in the same way. I would start with your: friends, lawyer, banker, current accountant, etc. to develop a list of recommendations. >>

In general I would not disagree with this advice however, I would like to relate how this worked out for me. I was considering early retirement with a substantial amount of tax deferred assets in my company sponsored retirement program. I saw several of my friends in the same company at approx my same age retire so I did indeed ask my friends to recommend a financial planner. Three responded with the same name and all spoke highly of this person. When I saw him he recommended a program to me which I then posted on this board for comments. I soon learned that this program was high cost and used dangerous comparison figures when estimating future returns. What I found was that my friends did not have any more knowledge than me and unlike me, they did not frequent the fool retirement boards to learn the hard truth about their financial advisor. I have said nothing to them because their arrangements are made and who am I at this point to tell them they have made a mistake? I feel very fortunate to have found this board before making a big mistake. Asking your friends may not be the best way to go.
GLSHEFF

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I have to agree with GLSHEFF; I was suggesting a mechanism to build a short list of professionals only. Then, you still need to screen the professionals to determine who you think is smart; who you seem to trust; who you want to work with.

lastly, simply so it doesn't get lost in shuffle; I strongly urge that you seek out a CPA/tax accountant over and above a financial planner. An FP is less likely to have the requisite skills you need in this particular circumstance. An FP is more valuable in a broader planning sense;but generally not dealing with intricate tax matters.

The best situaiton is to find a CPA/tax acct first who is also either a CFP or has attended & completed the AICPA financial planning series (this study program is generally just a tough as completing the CFP program; but for some reason is less well known). Then us your tactical 403(b) issues as a test; if he passes, move on to broader financial planning issues if needed.

TheBadger


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GLSHEFF wrote,

<<That being said, one tends to look for financial planners & CPA's in the same way. I would start with your: friends, lawyer, banker, current accountant, etc. to develop a list of recommendations. >>

In general I would not disagree with this advice however, I would like to relate how this worked out for me. I was considering early retirement with a substantial amount of tax deferred assets in my company sponsored retirement program. I saw several of my friends in the same company at approx my same age retire so I did indeed ask my friends to recommend a financial planner. Three responded with the same name and all spoke highly of this person. When I saw him he recommended a program to me which I then posted on this board for comments. I soon learned that this program was high cost and used dangerous comparison figures when estimating future returns. What I found was that my friends did not have any more knowledge than me and unlike me, they did not frequent the fool retirement boards to learn the hard truth about their financial advisor. I have said nothing to them because their arrangements are made and who am I at this point to tell them they have made a mistake? I feel very fortunate to have found this board before making a big mistake. Asking your friends may not be the best way to go.
GLSHEFF


Great post based on real world experience.

Your advice basically mirrors what the Retire Early Home Page has to say on the subject, see link:

http://www.geocities.com/WallStreet/8257/advise.html

intercst
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GLSHEFF -

You said: "I soon learned that this program was high cost and used dangerous comparison figures when estimating future returns."

You sure got me curious...

Care to share any details?

PP
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<<GLSHEFF -

You said: "I soon learned that this program was high cost and used dangerous comparison figures when estimating future returns."

You sure got me curious...

Care to share any details?

PP >>

This was a program for both myself and my wife who both work for the same corporation and it involved so called "B" shares from MSDW with a five year decreasing back end load with high expenses. His synopsis of this program bragged about the great return from the last twelve years, Which we all know is one of the greatest boom periods in the market. Anyway, after posting the details here and getting a quick and free education, I called my Morgan Stanley Dean Witter advisor/broker and said no thanks.
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