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Do I need a Financial Advisor? And if yes, then who?

Started by MisterS, January 23, 2019, 02:29:20 PM

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I've been managing my finances for 20 years.  Nothing too crazy, but married with kids.  Manage our retirement accounts, have a big savings account, modest (Small) but growing taxable stock portfolio.  I read blogs/books/etc.  Like most of you, I am financially savvy.  But have been thinking lately, would be nice to have a professional give me some advice.  Looking for feedback on asset allocation, and maybe even strategy.  Not a millionare, not trying to be the next Buffett, just keep it slow and steady and think it might be time.  BUt if that is the case, who do i talk to?  I have an account at Schwab, I actually did speak to someoen, but I have this fear of just letting someone else tell me what i should be doing.  But they seem to have a legit service, and not trying to sell me anything I dont need.  Just want that once a year coaching and maybe keep me honest about my goals, and maybe introduce me to something.  Eventually as things change, have that woman/man to bounce ideas off of....

Im 46 years old Married, 3 kids...oldest is in 6th grade, so high school (private) and college on the horizon.  Thanks for your feedback.


I'm right at your age and I kind of feel the same way.  In the last year I've been pairing down my individual stocks when appropriate and going with an S&P 500 fund in my core holding in my individual account.  I'm trying to do the same in my Roth with some bonds in there.  For my 401k I just use a target date fund.  I still enjoy reading up on the news and finances and will continue to do so.  I'm just tired of the ups and downs and checking my accounts everyday. 

I use Fidelity and I've met with them before.  I'm sure Schwab can manage your accounts for a fee or just give you advice.  Personal Capital can also review things for you, but then try and sell you on their services.  I would stick with Schwab and get as much information from them and then come to this site to bounce any insight from people before making a decision.  I found simplifying my portfolios takes the stress and guesswork out of things.

Fat Tony

I would strongly avoid any asset-% fee based financial advisor. My opinion is that they're nearly always negative value-add, frequently less educated than someone who's just read a few books on solid investing, and really just want to sell your services and skim that beautiful 1%+ fee off the top. If you've gotten pretty far, you will need/want to search for the top 20% of financial advisors.

What you mentioned, talking to someone once a year on an hourly-fee-only basis, is probably the best fit. Make sure to find someone with an investment philosophy you believe in. I actually have personally found a lot of the top FIRE bloggers to be much better candidates than mainstream "financial advisors". Posting in comment sections, posting on Bogleheads, I've seen do portfolio / FIRE reviews and analyses for a blog post series (if you're comfortable being put out there). I think Sam also offers consulting services too, and possibly other bloggers do too. I have had a few mostly non-useful experiences from ~4 advisory services, and a great time with hourly consulting.


Great advice Fat Tony.  I might try BOGLEHEADS first and see what they say.  I feel that I have a good understanding of the market, and i have a decent allocation, but fall in love with the winners, and have a hard time selling off to balance.  For example, Facebook has been great for me and has taken a large portion of my IRA position.  Wiht that said, Schwab tools tells me I am heavy in LARGE CAP and need more exposure to bonds and international, etc.  So I have a lot of stocks, a few funds, etc, so maybe i mix and match.  But want someone to tell me what that is. 

I also am starting to feel that dividend investing is better for the long term.  Finding those solid dividends is better than bonds.  THe stock goes down, you still are getting the dividends and weather through a bad market if you have a long term horizon.  And also like the idea of having a very strong dividend income in 20 years instead of selling off.  But lots to learn.  Appreciate it.


Surpass, thanks for your feedback.  I hear great thinngs about Fidelity.  I also hear FIDELITY has great tools on their website.  I might just set up a one on one with someone and see what he/she says and compare to what I find online.  Good luck with you.  Keep me posted on your progress.


If you're prone to making stupid investments then definitely get some help. I'm older than you and I've made those stupid investments and hence would have been better off with some help.  We're still fine financially but I wish I had the money that I've burned. it's not a million but I'm sure it's a  over a quarter mil throughout my lifetime. Lesson (s) learned - Don't do anything stupid.


JBINVILLE - I guess that is really the question.  Am I doing anything stupid?  Hindsight is always 20/20. A month ago, I was second guessing not selling FB to move it to other assets for the long term.  But then it rebounded.   I really am looking for an asset allocation review.  I am heavily weighed in stocks, and perhaps too much in tech.  I am also starting to think about Dividend income as a nice way to live off of passive income.  More than anything, nice to have a professional who knows the market better than me, who knows more about other investments, give me advice.  I read a lot, listen a lot, I get the basics.  I'm going to keep investing in my retirement and want to protect that.  I'm keeping a lot of cash on hand in my non taxable account, because it helps me sleep knowing its there for whatever reason, and I'm starting to build a small stock portfolio outside of that, and also investing in FUNDRISE.  I remember reading a book that said You get what you for in advice.  Find a good investment guy, find a good CPA, and use them.  I have not done either, so exploring those options.  Thanks for your help. 


If you are in a situation where you cannot decide on having a financial advisor or not. A better option would be of consulting a corporation which provides consulting facilities with all other commercial financing facilities such as credit protection, dip financing. So that you get a clear picture of your finance and its status.


This is a tricky question. Everyone could benefit from advice on how to manage their finances better. I am of the view you should pay for the advice directly. Embedding it in an asset manager creates a conflict of interest as they are determined to maximize their commission (or fee kickbacks).

It also depends on your income level. Most wealthy but not private bank wealthy people (less than 10mm investible assets) would most likely get a low paid salesperson. Think about how much an average financial advisor makes and how much they are making from your assets (think half of a percent of your assets). The economics are hard and most of the time you don't want the advice from the person giving it. It passes muster if you are clueless, but if you are financially saavy you can spot holes in the arguments.

I think it makes sense to pay someone $500-1000 for a financial checkup and an hour or two of  their  time. Someonesful and manages their own finances well. Hardest part is finding the right person.


Thanks Eric.  I think you said it well, and you get what you paid for.  I actually am going to use a wealth advisor that my family uses and also use them to begin a will and trust for my personal stuff.  Something I have been putting off for a long time, but hopefully will not need it for a long time.  But I think it just makes sense to have someone look and give me advice on asset allocation because I feel I'm too reactive based on what I read and what is happening.  I don't necessary buy/trade, but I feel I don't rebalance even if my philosophy changes.  Thank you.