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Subject:  Re: Retirement Plan - Which Way To Go? Date:  12/1/2005  7:54 AM
Author:  DeltaOne81 Number:  48541 of 96149

The fact that they advertised it as "free" means they are crooks, or ignorant.

Oh come on. This isn't fair. Fidelity gives you a free portfolio suggestion for having an account with them. My 401K and IRA are with them, and I haven't paid a single load or any fee other than reasonable expense ratio of my chosing. And for calling up and taking 10 minutes with them on the phone, you answer some questions and the computer comes up with a suggested set of funds and they send it to you.

No, nothing is ever really free, they do make money off you of course, but they'd make the same amount off of you if you didn't ask for the advice - so in that way, the advice is free.

You may argue they'd recommend more expensive funds or load funds. And heck, that my even be true (I don't recall, pretty sure they weren't loads though). But if they do there's no reason you can't pick similar but cheaper funds (indexes or just lower cost managed funds) and still be learning from their advice.

I am mainly interested in the investment part of the plan, but there are other issues as well. Things that I don't know how to figure out, such as pension and insurance decisions and how these will affect our retirement.

Goodnews, these are still all things on here that people can answer if you find the right board - there's this retirement investing board, and insurance board, boards for people who are already retired and may have experience with some of these issues, etc. You can discuss your situation, have ideas thrown your way, respond, and learn. And save a few grand.

Really, I have very little against a fee only planner, but $4K is a ton of money. Also, even with a fee only planner I'd still suggest you learn independently, because as nice as they may be, they can never know you as well as you do. And just as a broker may put you in a load fund, a fee-only planner may too, so it's not like you're guaranteed to have cheaper investing options through them. It's certainly arguable that they have less incentive to do so, but that doesn't mean they won't.

Are we talking $4K as a one-time fee, or would you need to pay this every time you want to talk with them, say annually? Imagine how much better that amount of money would do working for you in a retirement account, instead of gone.

If you really want their help, I have nothing against it, but perhaps you could get the fee down by only using them for certain complicated pension questions, etc and have them give a quick look over the rest of the plan you've come up with... rather than having them do it all for a hefty sum. As you can tell, I'm very put off by the amount of money that's being asked here.
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