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Author: Hawkwin Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75782  
Subject: Re: Professionally Managed versus Self Directed Date: 12/14/2011 11:46 AM
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For perhaps a more balanced answer than the traditional, "we all hate advisors and you should never pay fees, yada yada" (when we all know that we pay other people to perform all sorts of services we could do ourselves if we want to invest the time and energy...

I will start with the managed account options first. I personally think the fees are way too high. I assume one is a discretionary mutual fund option (the 1.65) and the other is a SMA (the 2.5%).

SMAs can be expense but they can also work extremely well. That being said, I don't see the benefit of paying any extra 1% for the ability to own the individual stocks and have them traded in that manner vs owning the fund - at least within (what I assume is) a tax deferred account. One of the best features of a SMA is the ability to tax harvest but again, that is not something you would do in a tax deferred account.

In both cases, the fees are high. The good news for you is that you can often negotiate the fee. I can discount my managed fee by 10% and my SMA fee by as much as 25%. If the advisor is unwilling to negotiate the fee, I would walk away.

Not knowing more about your investment history, risk tolerance, or the structure of the program, I could not advise you further.

What I can say is that I am generally very against equity indexed annuities, which is what at least one of those annuities is. I have yet to see one that I would recommend to anyone over either owning the funds outright or doing a tradtional variable annuity instead with an income rider. The annuity in question has surrender charges in excess of 10% in a few years and it has a 10 year surrender charge schedule. The only thing it guarantees is that you will not lose money when the market goes down - something a fixed annuity would do for you or a variable annuity would do with a rider. I could not find the cap information but usually, an EIA has a cap where if the market is up 10, you might be capped at 7. If the market is up 40%, you still only get the cap of 7 - the insurance company keeps the rest.

Bottom line, I think I would shop around. Annuities have their purpose but select individuals but they are expensive, restrictive, and are generally for people that have either invested poorly, have poor decision-making skills, and that generally invest emotionally. You realy have to think of them as insurance against both bad market performance and bad investor performance.
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