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3. I will be sure to question my Schwab guy about whether he gets compensated for steering me toward any particular funds.


I'd humbly suggest that's the least important question to ask any potential adviser. Instead, ask him (or her) this:

"Can you support yourself trading for your own account?" (where 'trading' is just a generic, morally-neutral word that includes all forms of 'investing' as well.) In other words, "Do you eat your own cooking?"

Never trust the advice of an "adviser" who isn't actively engaging markets and who isn't putting his or her own money at risk. Why? Because 99% of "advisers" believe what their business school profs told them, and 99% of those profs don't trade, either, or when they are put in charge of managing money, they blow up the account, as the idiots, Scholes and Merton, did at Long Term Capital Management and every other fund anyone is dumb enough to let an academic get hold of or have any part of. Not a one of them understands how to manage risk, nor do they care, because it isn't their money. When things do blow up, as they always do, the "advisers" all say, to a man or a woman, "Well, no one could have foreseen that".

BRRZZP! Wrong answer and excuse. Managing risk isn't about prediction. It's about not doing stupid things in the first place. You really do need to read Taleb, who shows Modern Portfolio Theory [sic] to be the fraud and charlatanism it is.

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