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So I asked myself if I was getting enough stuff to justify a 1% penalty over a very simple investment approach. Answer no. We now have a much less complex set of assets. A total of 10 funds (two of which are left from FA, have good results and large capital gains in a taxable account) vs over 20. Some people like indexes and ETFs and that can lead to even fewer holdings - but I have decided to go into actively managed Vanguard funds with long (over 10 year) track records.

Thanks, GW. I actually called Vanguard today and filled out the forms for their FA to look at and discuss with me next week. We have accounts there, and their recommendation for our age group is a 70/30 asset allocation, but beyond that it seemed as though they would pull the same formulaic approach to investing for us. They did however confirm that our FA got us about 3% better last year net of fees than their return for a similar 60/40 portfolio at Vanguard, at least one based on the ETFs they prefer. It is interesting to note that at a glance their ETF approach did better than Wellington, at least for last year. It may be that I just have to deal with the fact that the fee we pay gets us access to better funds, cause it sure isn't getting us advice. It is crazy the things I've had to inform our FA about, followed up with emailed links to the facts when he told me I had my facts wrong. And yet he is the one with the alphabet soup of designations after his name, while I'm a simple at home mom....who knows how to read. So far his best asset has been that when he finally understands what I want to do and why we should do it, he helps me convince DH a lot faster than I can do on my own. I guess that alphabet soup is good for something.

Maybe the best approach is to see if there is another FA at that company, one who does more than throw a formula at our total family of accounts, and who can take over management of our funds. What I really would love is a financial adviser who is the total package, understanding the need to balance returns with taxes, how to manipulate the accounts to provide the best of all worlds, how to position what we have now in it's current form for optimal retirement investing and spending.

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