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No. of Recommendations: 10
Welcome Surfmermaid & Mom,

Get the money out of that broker's control and run, don't walk, as fast and far as you can.

Not to be taken as a rec on where to place that money, but more to emphasize what these brokers have done, I've created the following table. It is based on 5 different Vanguard funds, where $500k was invested in each on 9/17/01.
Note that the gains shown do not reflect dividends that have been paid out, nor did I track down the Admiral Class (a slightly lower fee for their high value investors) fund tickers.

Symbol $/sh Shares Curr. Val. Buy$/sh Gain$ Gain%

VFINX 107.91 5,200.208 $561,154.44 96.15 $61,154.46 +12.23%
VTSMX 27.52 21,607.605 $594,641.31 23.14 $94,641.34 +18.93%

VWELX 30.32 18,518.518 $561,481.44 27.00 $61,481.47 +12.30%

VASIX 13.47 38,940.809 $524,532.69 12.84 $24,532.71 +4.91%
VSCGX 15.03 36,549.707 $549,342.06 13.68 $49,342.08 +9.87%

VFINX is their S&P Index Fund which is sorta the bogey around Fooldom.
VTSMX is their Wilshire 5000 Fund which is trending to take VFINX as the baseline around here. It more or less adds more Mid/Sm Cap exposure.
VWELX is a managed fund that invests at least 60-70% of assets in dividend-paying value stocks and 30-40% of assets in intermediate bonds.
VASIX is their income focused fund of funds which invests 60% in bonds, 20% in short-term fixed income and 20% in stocks.
VSCGX is their conservative fund of funds which invests 40% in bonds, 20% in short-term fixed income securities and 40% in stocks.

As 2old notes, a fee-only planner may be a place to start, though I suspect it's a treacherous path to find a good one that doesn't have ulterior motives in making additional fees from where you're directed to invest.

I haven't tried it, but Vanguard has their own planner service which I think runs around $500-1,500, which is waived if you end up moving $250k+ there.
http://tinyurl.com/4sstj
If you do end up using them, please report back as I have yet to find anyone posting that has. I only suggest them off hand in that I have had positive experiences in all my dealings with Vanguard and wouldn't expect them to be recc'g anything too obtuse.

Another alternative would be to place the funds in a CD ladder, or in your case a set of ladders since you would need to spread the money out over several banks to keep your balances below the FDIC insurance limits of $100k/SSN tied to the accounts.

Here's an example of what you would yield:

Investment Amount APY Ann Int Net Int Simple Rate

1-year CD $100,000.00 2.60% $2,600.00
2-year CD $100,000.00 3.40% $3,400.00
3-year CD $100,000.00 3.95% $3,950.00
4-year CD $100,000.00 4.35% $4,350.00
5-year CD $100,000.00 4.61% $4,610.00
Totals $500,000.00 $ 18,910.00 3.78%

The APY's are from what I found a couple of months ago when I layed this matrix out to explain to my in-laws on how a CD ladder works.
You can find current rates, which I expect would be slightly higher now, by searching at www.bankrate.com

With this scheme, you buy time to study and be prepared to re-invest portions of your mom's funds in annual increments. You may feel savvy enough to direct your own investment in to other instruments/funds, or you may wish to just re-purchase new 5-yr CD's to keep the ladders going.


Hope this helps to get you away from the broker and on the way to better opportunities!
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