No. of Recommendations: 4
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.


Sorry so long :-(
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