Footballmom,Wow do you get a lot of advice on this site. From one end of the spectrum - here is my financial planning site, through, vanguard is the ticket or buy a bunch of stuff that diversifies to the other end - you must do it yourself or lose money (lower returns)!This site is very good for advice, but you have to be very specific about what you are seeking! Which when you are starting out is very difficult, but is possibleBanks are good if you want a stable/guranteed return no hassle and no fun. And they are bank people getting into the financial planning, like was posted earlier if they go for an annuity without finding out other information -run away!!!A stock broker is going to recommend stocks and really is not a planning method. He wants you to buy and sell because it is his income.Vanguard has some boiler plate advice and some question/brochures to help with some aspects, but they don't get into the whole picture. My take:Financial planners are good to help you focus on the target whatever that is, retirement, education, business needs. They will sit down and go through your entire situation, determine your risk and then help you focus on what you want to do with the money. With that goal in mind (if you have a reputable planner) you will get advice on vehicles and strategies that will help you see those dreams for that money. And you may even make better returns than you would on your own.You can do this yourself. That is the purpose of these boards. It will take some work and you may end up having some fun doing it!!!! Careful.It depends on you!For a lot of people, having some one else manage thier money is just "wierd" but I think getting advice - even paying for advice is good. You take your car to some one, you may have a CPA do you taxes, you would get a lawyer, a doctor or other professions. And all of those folks you have to trust as well. So this is obviously not an overcomable obstacle. Just like you would have to trust some of us on these boards.....Some of the things you need to consider (just to get started) are:If the money is strictly for retirement----Age and investment horizon,Current standard of living and expected retirment standard of living, including long term care type of decisions,Length of retirement,Other retirement income sources, (and assets)Risk Tolerance,Tax status and the tax rate at withdrawl of the money and the returns expected.Time committment for your to manage or fees you are willing to pay for professional management.And if you can't spent it fast enough - how you are going to pass the remaining balance to your hiers and or charitable contributions.
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