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Subject:  Re: Talk me out of a Financial Advisor Date:  6/4/2013  8:51 AM
Author:  2gifts Number:  72419 of 90111

I've been reading this thread with interest, and thought I would chime in as I seem to have a different opinion from most of the replies that I have seen.

I have been doing our investing for about 30 years now, and have been generally happy with the results. That said, DH has absolutely zero interest in anything financial other than the spending side, so my worries have been around having someone who could replace me to do our financial management in case I die before DH. So my number one reason for getting a financial advisor has been to make sure that we found someone with whom I was comfortable in terms of performance and with whom DH could work if he had to go it alone. I find that a perfectly good reason to have a financial advisor because it would be to have that expertise available for someone who does not have nor cares to acquire that sort of expertise.

I happen to think that is a great reason to have a FA.

A 2nd reason that we have an advisor is that the numbers have gotten pretty large, and I'm concerned that if I make an error at this point, it could be pretty expensive, and so having someone to be more objective and not making emotional decisions is a big plus for me.

A 3rd reason is that I am finding that although I love to play with money, particularly ours, and make it grow, I'm starting to prefer to be doing other things, and so I want someone that I can hand this work off to.

I hear the arguments about needing more performance to be able to sustain that 1% fee for the advisor, and I'm OK with that, particularly if he can get a better return after his fees than I can. I'm even OK with it if he can get the same return as I can after his fees are taken out, and I have actually included that commission in my retirement budget to make sure that it is covered. I have no problem paying for the expertise provided that I am getting at least as good performance as I can on my own, and over the past 3 or 4 years that we've been working with this guy, he has been able to at least do as well as me and typically better, so I am a happy camper.

Someone mentioned not wanting to pay a percentage fee on assets that are in bonds with the FA, and so I wanted to point out that my FA actually has us in bonds because we were 100% stock, and as we move towards retirement, needed something in bonds for diversification. He advised that I put my 401k contributions into a bond fund to get some of that diversification, and he has purchased individual bonds for us in our portfolio, but he does not charge any commission on those bonds because he doesn't feel like he is really doing anything to manage that.

My FA has looked at our entire portfolio and given advice on it, but we have only given him a portion to manage, and he only gets a percentage on the dollars under his control. He knows this is a test drive for us, and that's fine with him. We have spoken to other FA's who actually wanted to charge a percentage on the total portfolio (one guy actually included the value of our HOUSE in that!) even if they were not managing it, and that was a total non-starter for me.

The FA I use also has his own home-grown model that he uses to be able to run simulations and tell us what we need to save to reach our particular goals and when we have met them. I really like that someone else is checking this for me.

We interviewed quite a number of FA's over the years trying to find one that would work for us. The guy I am now using actually came in 2nd when we did our first test drive, and the guy we chose then only lasted about 2 years because I was not happy. I have, however, been very happy with the current FA in terms of service, performance, and accessibility. We have followed him from his original brokerage to the new brokerage (there was an acquisition, hence the change), and I do plan to keep him.

I realize others have different opinions, but we are not all looking for the same things from a Financial Advisor, and given the right one, I think they can provide a real service.

As with everything, YMMV.
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