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    Financial Planners

    My wife and I do not have a financial planner, we are starting to do some research on finding one. I am not putting this out there to get recommendations as to who I should go with, I want to know what my expectations should be as far as financial planners go.

    What are the fees? How exactly will they help me? What info should I have ready for them? Is it enough that they have a CFP?

    I think we are most likely looking at a cash management type person. Is there software available instead of hiring a planner? My goal is to be debt free, including the house, in 5 years. Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.



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    Re: Financial Planners

    Well, the guy I have (who I'm not overly impressed with) deals in mutual funds. We pay him nothing, but he gets paid a percentage for each mutual fund we purchase. Sounds like a conflict of interest? I thought so too, but apparently their's a rule that all mutual funds pay out the same to financial planers.

    I'd be interested to hear if there is a 'software' version that's easy to use, yet informative.


    "I think that people are responding to someone standing up and saying this is what we want to do and let's not be afraid to go for it,'' Pollard said. "I think Iowa State has a very conservative, modest background. We never pound our chest and say `Let's do it.' It's OK to set a goal. You can't do it if you don't say what you want to do. You should be proud of it.''

    Jamie Pollard, 6/2/2006

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    Re: Financial Planners

    You may have already come across this article, but I thought I'd post it anyway:

    Financial Planners


    "I think that people are responding to someone standing up and saying this is what we want to do and let's not be afraid to go for it,'' Pollard said. "I think Iowa State has a very conservative, modest background. We never pound our chest and say `Let's do it.' It's OK to set a goal. You can't do it if you don't say what you want to do. You should be proud of it.''

    Jamie Pollard, 6/2/2006

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    Re: Financial Planners

    Quote Originally Posted by isugcs View Post
    Well, the guy I have (who I'm not overly impressed with) deals in mutual funds. We pay him nothing, but he gets paid a percentage for each mutual fund we purchase. Sounds like a conflict of interest? I thought so too, but apparently their's a rule that all mutual funds pay out the same to financial planers.

    I'd be interested to hear if there is a 'software' version that's easy to use, yet informative.

    That is not always the case. There are financial planners that will work for a fee upfront also.

    You always have to be careful with them, and make sure what they are selling is the most beneficial to you and not just to them.


    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin 1775

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    Re: Financial Planners

    Quote Originally Posted by isugcs View Post
    Well, the guy I have (who I'm not overly impressed with) deals in mutual funds. We pay him nothing, but he gets paid a percentage for each mutual fund we purchase. Sounds like a conflict of interest? I thought so too, but apparently their's a rule that all mutual funds pay out the same to financial planers.

    I'd be interested to hear if there is a 'software' version that's easy to use, yet informative.
    Perhaps there is a standard payout from a particular fund, but there is no rule that funds need to pay anything to FPs. No-load funds typically do not pay any commissions and have no purchasing or redemption loads and significantly cheaper expense ratios. FPs who receive commissions will typically not sell these because there is no financial incentive for them.

    I highly recommend that you become your own investment adviser. You may never have the knowledge of some FPs (although you might), but the ability to evaluate your finances and make reasoned decisions will help you even if you do end up using a FP. It is kind of like knowing a little about your car. The only way to know you are not getting screwed at the repair shop is to know a little about the vehicle. While you may have someone you trust in the business, you still know you and your financial situation better than anyone.



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    Re: Financial Planners

    Quote Originally Posted by twojman View Post
    My wife and I do not have a financial planner, we are starting to do some research on finding one. I am not putting this out there to get recommendations as to who I should go with, I want to know what my expectations should be as far as financial planners go.

    What are the fees? How exactly will they help me? What info should I have ready for them? Is it enough that they have a CFP?

    I think we are most likely looking at a cash management type person. Is there software available instead of hiring a planner? My goal is to be debt free, including the house, in 5 years. Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
    I am a CFP, and have a master's in financial planning. Here is what I would strongly encourage:
    From the board the regualtes our credentials

    Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. - How to Choose a Planner

    How to Choose a Planner
    You may be considering help from a financial planner for a number of reasons, whether itís deciding to buy a new home, planning for retirement or your childrenís education, or simply not having the time or expertise to get your finances in order. Whatever your needs, working with a financial planner can be a helpful step in securing your financial future.
    You should interview and evaluate several financial planners to find the one thatís right for you. You will want to select a competent, qualified professional with whom you feel comfortable, one whose business style suits your financial planning needs.
    10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner
    1Q.What experience do you have? A.Find out how long the planner has been in practice and the number and types of companies with which she has been associated. Ask the planner to briefly describe her work experience and how it relates to her current practice. Choose a financial planner who has experience counseling individuals on their financial needs.

    2Q.What are your qualifications? A.The term "financial planner" is used by many financial professionals. Ask the planner what qualifies him to offer financial planning advice and whether he is recognized as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERô professional or CFPģ practitioner, a Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS), or a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). Look for a planner who has proven experience in financial planning topics such as insurance, tax planning, investments, estate planning or retirement planning. Determine what steps the planner takes to stay current with changes and developments in the financial planning field. If the planner holds a financial planning designation or certification, check on his background with CFP Board or other relevant professional organizations.

    3Q.What services do you offer? A.The services a financial planner offers depend on a number of factors including credentials, licenses and areas of expertise. Generally, financial planners cannot sell insurance or securities products such as mutual funds or stocks without the proper licenses, or give investment advice unless registered with state or Federal authorities. Some planners offer financial planning advice on a range of topics but do not sell financial products. Others may provide advice only in specific areas such as estate planning or on tax matters.

    4Q.What is your approach to financial planning? A.Ask the financial planner about the type of clients and financial situations she typically likes to work with. Some planners prefer to develop one plan by bringing together all of your financial goals. Others provide advice on specific areas, as needed.

    Make sure the plannerís viewpoint on investing is not too cautious or overly aggressive for you. Some planners require you to have a certain net worth before offering services. Find out if the planner will carry out the financial recommendations developed for you or refer you to others who will do so.

    5Q.Will you be the only person working with me? A.The financial planner may work with you himself or have others in the office assist him. You may want to meet everyone who will be working with you. If the planner works with professionals outside his own practice (such as attorneys, insurance agents or tax specialists) to develop or carry out financial planning recommendations, get a list of their names to check on their backgrounds.

    6Q.How will I pay for your services? A.As part of your financial planning agreement, the financial planner should clearly tell you in writing how she will be paid for the services to be provided. Planners can be paid in several ways:
    • A salary paid by the company for which the planner works. The plannerís employer receives payment from you or others, either in fees or commissions, in order to pay the plannerís salary.
    • Fees based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or on a percentage of your assets and/or income.
    • Commissions paid by a third party from the products sold to you to carry out the financial planning recommendations. Commissions are usually a percentage of the amount you invest in a product.
    • A combination of fees and commissions whereby fees are charged for the amount of work done to develop financial planning recommendations and commissions are received from any products sold. In addition, some planners may offset some portion of the fees you pay if they receive commissions for carrying out their recommendations.
    7Q.How much do you typically charge? A.While the amount you pay the planner will depend on your particular needs, the financial planner should be able to provide you with an estimate of possible costs based on the work to be performed. Such costs should include the plannerís hourly rates or flat fees or the percentage he would receive as commission on products you may purchase as part of the financial planning recommendations.

    8Q.Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations? A.Some business relationships or partnerships that a planner has could affect her professional judgment while working with you, inhibiting the planner from acting in your best interest. Ask the planner to provide you with a description of her conflicts of interest in writing. For example, financial planners who sell insurance policies, securities or mutual funds have a business relationship with the companies that provide these financial products. The planner may also have relationships or partnerships that should be disclosed to you, such as business she receives for referring you to an insurance agent, accountant or attorney for implementation of planning suggestions.

    9Q.Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career? A.Several government and professional regulatory organizations, such as FINRA (formerly NASD), your state insurance and securities departments, and CFP Board keep records on the disciplinary history of financial planners and advisers. Ask what organizations the planner is regulated by and contact these groups to conduct a background check. All financial planners who have registered as investment advisers with the Securities and Exchange Commission or state securities agencies, or who are associated with a company that is registered as an investment adviser, must be able to provide you with a disclosure form called Form ADV Part II or the state equivalent of that form.

    10Q.Can I have it in writing? A.Ask the planner to provide you with a written agreement that details the services that will be provided. Keep this document in your files for future reference.


    As far as depth goes though, the combination of White, Woodbury, Olaseni, Basabe, and Uthoff is much better than Niang, Ejim, Edozie, Gibson. Not because of the top 2, but because of the next 2 or 3. -DeanVogs

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    Re: Financial Planners

    I've used a fee based planner for the past two years, and he has more than paid for his fee by beating (or losing less than) the market over any period I have measured.

    He has really done his job in the current bear market-my portfolio only decreased marginally this past week while the overall market took a huge dump.

    Make sure you choose someone you can trust, and someone who will stay in constant communication with you regarding your overall goals



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    Re: Financial Planners

    I've worked with several over the years with mixed results. For the most part I've always thought my knowledge base was the same or greater than the people I was working with.

    I'm not working with any currently. I do subscribe to Money and Forbes and while you have to filter it, you can learn a lot reading those magazines. I invest using my 401k, the Iowa 529 plan, and my Roth's are through Scott Trade which is a discount broker. Here are some other links you can check out.

    Andrew Tobias - Money and Other Subjects
    Fool.com: Stock Market Advice | Stock Investing Advice
    Business, financial, personal finance news - CNNMoney
    Business News and Financial News at Forbes.com

    My wife does have an account with Charles Schwab and overall she's been pleased with them. They called initially and did a good job of figuring out her goals and risk tolerances and then made some investment recommendations. Overall that account has done pretty well and the returns have been pretty comparable to mine.

    I've tried the market timing route in the past and it treated me good in the last turn down, but didn't get me back in at the right time when the market was coming up. I've pretty much turned into a Warren Buffet type now and try to pick good low expense funds and dollar cost average invest into them and never sell. I've got close to a 30 year time horizion before I retire so can ride out these down turns no sweat.

    You have some aggressive, but good goals. I've always tried to maximize debt reduction, exposure to the stock market and investment in real estate and that policy has treated me pretty well over the last 20 years.

    Good luck!


    Last edited by Bobber; 06-29-2008 at 02:33 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Financial Planners

    Quote Originally Posted by isugcs View Post
    You may have already come across this article, but I thought I'd post it anyway:

    Financial Planners

    Thanks for the link and thanks to all for your responses.

    I have a Schwab account myself for individual stocks, I invest in my 401(k) plan at work and participate in the stock purchase plan. Unfortunately I am heavy on financials right now. I look at them as long term investments though, not short term quick gains. As long as Bank of America does not slash their dividends too much I should be fine!

    I seem to be able to manage my taxes and things alright but for some reason we are having issues with the cash management side. The link stated a $300 fee for a plan in a specific area, this would be well worth it to me.

    Thanks again all!



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    Re: Financial Planners

    Quote Originally Posted by twojman View Post
    My goal is to be debt free, including the house, in 5 years. Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
    This part jumped out at me. Have you looked at the Dave Ramsey stuff? He offers a very basic, straightforward approach to getting it done. It worked for us and we are happy with our results. You can invest and save with a lot more confidence when you know that you don't owe anyone anything.

    We have always done our own planning and kept it very simple. We use spreadsheets to manage the cash flows and planning and we do all of our tracking online (although I only check everything monthly).



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    Re: Financial Planners

    Quote Originally Posted by CyInSoonerland View Post
    This part jumped out at me. Have you looked at the Dave Ramsey stuff? He offers a very basic, straightforward approach to getting it done. It worked for us and we are happy with our results. You can invest and save with a lot more confidence when you know that you don't owe anyone anything.

    We have always done our own planning and kept it very simple. We use spreadsheets to manage the cash flows and planning and we do all of our tracking online (although I only check everything monthly).
    Ditto. Check out www.daveramsey.com for more info.

    I'd check out his ELP list for a real, flesh and blood planner in your area.


    I'm baaack! See my Hot Milk For Breakfast blog under Social Groups for more details

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