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Greetings,

I am thinking seeing a Financial Advisor (American Express). Does anyone here recommend American Express or any others? I am wondering about the benefits of them. Thanks.

South
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I am thinking seeing a Financial Advisor (American Express). Does anyone here recommend American Express or any others? I am wondering about the benefits of them. Thanks.

Read up here on the Fool. And other places online instead. I've heard about several bad experiences with American Express advisor's lately on the boards. Honestly, this is something you can do yourself. And the advantage of that is, no one is going to care about your money as much as you do.


TW
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There was a huge thread over on the LBYM board 2 or 3 weeks ago. Most people had a negative experience with them. They kept pushing their own funds with lots of fees & loads. All-in-all, you're probably better taking your few hundred bucks and paying yourself (by taking a vacation, perhaps?) for doing a better job.

-Agg97
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Southwesternfool, you asked:

<< I am thinking seeing a Financial Advisor (American Express). Does anyone here recommend American Express or any others? I am wondering about the benefits of them. >>

Generally speaking, most people around here prefer doing things themselves and discourage the use of any such advisors as it's biased and not worth any of the expense. And so, can you imagine the kind of non-biased, ha ha, responses you'll likely get? ;-)
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I would go with an independent advisor instead, as in someone who is not selling just one company's products. I think there are some articles here on the Fool about how to choose a financial advisor. Also, the Fool has their own Motley Fool Money Advisor service, which you could look into.
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Does anyone here recommend American Express or any others?

You mean American Distressed?

buzman
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I inherited some shares of AMEX funds. My dad had paid a load, I think 5.75% for them. They were mediocre performers. Since my address was in a different state than my dad, a different advisor's name was on my statements, but I never met him.
Then I moved several times to different states, and every time I reported and address change, within a couple of weeks I got another letter. "Hello, I am your new American Express Financial Advisor. Please make an appointment to come in and get acquainted." When I stayed in a state long enough, I made an appointment. Pleasant, honest, hardworking fellow. I picked up some brochures on some of the funds he recommended and told him I'd read the prospectus and check out the fund and let him know. When he checked back, I told him I thought for the time being Vanguard met my needs better, but I'd keep the shares I already had where they were.
Then I moved back to a state where I'd been before. Did I get back the old advisor? Nope. New letter. "Hello, I am your new American Express Financial Advisor. Please make an appointment to come in and get acquainted." I called the office and asked howcum I didn't get back the planner I'd had before when I lived in that area, and they didn't have a clue. Don't track such things. This happened twice.
They will offer a financial plan. Grossly overpriced. If you want a financial plan plug your data into the one in Quicken.
The above experience with state-to-state moves tells you how much individual attention you get from the corporation.
Eventually, I sold the shares. Should have done it long before, but my dad thought they were worth the load. Or maybe the planner he started with was his own customer...
Best wishes, Chris
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Oh boy, do I have a lot to say on this topic. I've already said it here:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=20380773&sort=whole

If you go to the end of this thread, you'll see a post from a person who has great things to say about his AmEx person, too.

Lisa
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Here's the post I think batdoe is referring to.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=20395464

I would beg you to not meet with Amex. There's a class action lawsuit against these guys that's well written and the above article refers to it. I'm in the middle of a potential lawsuit with them and it's just plain ugly. I'm sure they're some nice folks there but there's a very severe conflict of interest here.

They have something known as Total Weighted Production (TWP - pronounce twip). Basically it's a weighted average for AMEX financial advisors and the AMEX specific products vs. general products. If their TWP ratio isn't high enough they are reprimanded or fired. They are in essence strongly motivated to sell AMEX specific products that will most likely not be in your best interest.

HTH,

Jesse
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Greetings South,

I was invited to one of those free sessions with an American Express Financial Advisor about five years ago, and decided to go out of curiousity, but had no intention of signing up with them.

The advisor showed me a 'sample' booklet that their customers get each year. It summarizes the customers total portfolio, including asset allocation, and also gives you a lot of detail. This was the only thing that impressed me, because at the time I had no way of analysing my total portfolio allocation. It didn't sound like such a bad deal for a fairly 'inexpensive' annual fee.

However, when I questioned the advisor about the mutual funds recommended, particularly about the loads and the expenses, she admitted that I would only be able to invest in the funds they offered, that most of them had loads. She tried to overcome my objections by insisting that the fund returns would more than make up for the loads, and that the fund expenses were average for the fund industry. She also tried to sell me an annuity. In short, this is how they really make their money, not on your annual fee.

At the end of the meeting, as an explanation for refusing her sales pitch I told her, "There's nothing that you can do for me that I can't do for myself, and with you I'd be locked in to particular funds, whereas I can invest in anything I want." Her reply was, "Yes, but the question is, 'Are you actually going to take the time to do it?' Believe it or not, instead of selling me on the service, her remark served only to finally get me moving on developing an Excel spreadsheet where I could track all the same things they would track in their booklet, and also give me nice charts and graphs.

I'm so happy doing it myself. Once the spreadsheet was developed and refined, it doesn't take me much time at all to track things, and I can look at the numbers and the charts anytime I want, not just once a year! Also, doing it myself has prompted me to educate myself in the investing field, and I now feel truly empowered! Many folks I know who use advisors only think about their investments the one or two times a year they meet with their advisors, and that puts them WAY out of the loop regarding what's happening in the investment field--they're at such a disadvantage that they usually can't make the decisions the advisor asks them to, so they just go along with what the advisor recommends (and later complain and complain about what terrible investments their advisors put them in). YIKES--that's a position I would NEVER want to be in.

2old

Sorry so long :-(
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Hope you get this southwestern fool....but how much did they ask for their services? Or does anybody know what AEFA charge for one year of service
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cavitycrusader asks,

Hope you get this southwestern fool....but how much did they ask for their services? Or does anybody know what AEFA charge for one year of service.

If you're retired, their fees are probably a lot more than you pay in Federal income taxes.

http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/irsadvisor.html

intercst
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