A fun activity: visit a Financial Planner

Recently, I booked a free introduction meeting with a Financial Planner. I did a few of these before. I do this out of curioisity: what services do they offer, could it help me, what benefit would there be for me?

From this financial planner, I had rather high hopes as they advertise a cool planning tool. Armed with the high level data of our assets, I entered his office for the meeting. The meeting was shorter than expected and there was not a lot of sales pitching from his side. Was this due to my confindent attitude and clear vision of what I wanted, or are my assets he could “play with” too small?

As a next step, I await his output of his tool via email and some recommendations. I actually hope this will be a face2face meeting. I might push for that.

Things worth to mention

  • The main focus was on the amount of cash and the monthly investable amount that we had free.
  • After that, there was interest in our funds portfolio (yes, we have that, yes, I know the stats…) and the role that would play in the overal plan
  • He will not include  our ETF portfolio in his advice, he told it was best left with me as I seemd to knwo what I was doing. In the margin, tarding fees were mentioned. Kudos that he says that online brokers are probably cheaper and better.
  • Our mortgage does not seem to have room for improvement. That is good news. (More on that later)
  • At the end, we discussed some rental investment opportunities and the insane high prices in our town.

 

Do you sometimes check out a planner to see what you might learn?

On a side note, Mid November, there is Finance Avenue in Belgium/Brussels. By far the biggest (and free) Finance Fair we have. Any of you going? I plan to go and meet some of the less known stock brokers. (and maybe pick up some goodies…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “A fun activity: visit a Financial Planner

  1. I generally want to avoid them as much as possible. Since I am job hunting I now sometimes have to go talk to some of their employees. One of them had a policy that for clients between 250K and 1M they only offered their own funds. I wasn’t really impressed by the track record of them so my diplomatic response was I hadn’t looked at them but that they probably where a combination of different ‘building’ blocks as most mutual funds are and describing the most common blocks and how they usually are combined (I have done back office work on mutual funds for about 3 years, hence be applying for a similar job at their company). I thought it was a smart way of showing my knowledge of how funds work and at the same time avoiding any commentary on the -lack luster- performance of their funds. Apperently they did not took to kindly to the fact that I described their funds as ‘a probably pretty standard combination of the most general modules’ as I never got a call back for that job. And here I was thinking I was being very polite and diplomatic….
    I have worked 6 years at a telecom company and over 10 years in the financial sector. If you would ask me where the most passionate and smart people about finance and investing worked. My anwser would be the telecom company ….Think about it, if they are so smart and good with financing? Why the hell are they not yet FIRED?

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  2. I’ve avoided them too – but probably should visit one just to hear their take on our situation. I think they would tell me I’m crazy for considering early retirement 🙂 I do have a free “visit” (or session) still coming through Personal Capital. I’ve been too busy to have it though! I also have access to a consultant through Vanguard and have the same problem with finding time. It’s in the plan for the next few months though!

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  3. Nice move, it’s always good to see if the “professionals” have ideas that you may have overlooked. We have done the same, with varying results. Maybe we should do it again. Actually, it might be better to do a tax review/assessment, that might actually be more efficient now that the portfolio is starting to grow.

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  4. As a former financial advisor, I have seen more than my fair share of advisors who are more concern about earning their fees instead of helping clients reach their financial goals. More bad apples than good. I am still getting calls and emails from family and friends looking for a second opinion regarding advice that they have received from their advisors.

    A good advisor should provide more than just investment advice. Issues like income splitting, tax planning, insurance needs, estate planning should also be discussed.

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  5. I get free account checkups from Fidelity. They seem quite nice and not too pushy. I thought they would like to push me into higher fee funds because we currently own only cheap index funds. I got a few good nuggets of advice out of those conversations, mostly for reducing taxes. They always seem shocked about my other investments (private equity real estate and futures options trading). At that time they normally realize that they won’t be able to sell me anything that day and we go to the small talk right before wrapping up the meeting.

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  6. Not exactly my idea of fun but hey, to each his own. I never once thought of using a FP. You read so many horror stories about FP’s losing other people’s money. The way I figure it, if I love it’s all on me. I’d feel a lot worse having someone else lose my money for me. Too often for these FP’s it’s about fees/commish rather than offering solid advice. At least you learned some things form this experience.

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  7. I have never done this before but I’ve definitely thought about it. Maybe I’m too overconfident in my own abilities, but I’ve never thought they could offer me much substantial in advice. But I’ll probably seek one out as I near retirement to get another opinion and double check all my assumptions, etc. I’ll look forward to hearing the conclusions from your meeting.

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  8. Interesting that you decided to visit. I hope you got something out of the meeting and it re-affirmed what you were doing was the right thing to do. I look forward to hearing if the tools he will send are of any use 🙂

    Tristan

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