What the financial planner says…

Towards the end of 2016, I went to see one of the financial planners/upscale banks in Belgium. A first get-to-know meeting is free. Worst case, you loose an hour. Best case, you pick up some ideas.

During this particular visit, I had mixed feelings on the sales guy in front of me. As soon as he sensed I was a DIY and there was little money I could move his way, his interest faded. This was confirmed by the fact there was no further follow up from him, not even after a  reminder email from my side. That says more about him than me…

They advertise with a planning tool, I was interested: I am always open to learn or to have a discussion on finances, so, I went to another agency. With success this time.

As I came prepared, I was able to get my feedback and report. There is great news: when we continue like we do today, we can maintain our current life style after we retire! All good!

Not really, they mean retire at the regular age, like at 67…

We have the ambition to do better!

The tool required me to make some of our financial goals explicit. Here is what I came up with

  • Emergency fund: life throws once in a while a curve ball. We need the means to deal with it.
  • travel when the kids get 12, they get to pick the destination, I hope it is far far away.
  • Retirement. A better term would have been Financial Independence.
  • House repairs/upgrade. At some point in time we will need a new kitchen and bathroom.
  • College fund for the kids
  • Leave an inheritance for my kids

All seems to be reasonable objectives to achieve in the given timeframes. It is nice to see that our systems leads us to the right place.

Portfolio wise, the discussion was that I am way to conservative/defensive now. I do know that. That is why we have not bought any assets that qualify as “defensive” the last years. Going forward, it is all equity! and options 🙂

Reminder for a next visit that I might do: actually put FI on the table as a financial goal and see how they react. It is a missed opportunity as I decided to go with the flow of their systems and planning. We all know we have other plans…

Was this a loss of my time?





18 thoughts on “What the financial planner says…

  1. I’m also a fan of these “free checkups”, and have done several. Some good, some not, but you can’t beat the price!


  2. Can you follow up for free and tell them to rerun the analysis assuming FI? I’ve never been to one myself but will likely do so as I near retirement…i mean FI :).


    1. I might do that with another bank/financial advisor. In my opinion, when you are a DIY and active following the FIRE community, it is very likely you know more than the white collar person you are speaking to…


  3. Great summary. I have done this on the other side of the channel, but never here in Belgium.
    If you are willing to send me something offline. I will place the FI on the table and see their response and share it 🙂


  4. I don’t think it was a loss of time. Anytime I chat with “professionals” on any topic, I try to learn from them at least something. Even if you “knew” everything they said, then at least you made a connection and if you need some help in the future, you know they have some knowledge (or you can find someone else!)


  5. interesting. Did he elaborate on why your portfolio was too defensive and in particular whether increasing your stock exposure now with the current high valuations is the right thing to do? I would be very cautious if that would be the advice.


  6. The financial check ups are always a joke to me. I can say that we dividend bloggers looking to retire a bit sooner have a different few on our finances. I also find it very funny how the sales guys lost interest as soon as he realized he wasn’t going to gain much from you. Exactly why managed funds suck.


  7. Sounds like it was a worthwhile conversation if you were able to take something away from it and make some changes. I have to say that I met with a guy a couple of years ago and was totally ready to hand things over and I don’t know what the deal was but he never called back. I don’t know what the problem was but after not hearing back I learned a ton more on investments and in hindsight think it was a blessing in disguise.


    1. For people not willing to take care of their finance themselves, it is better than doing nothing. You were indeed blessed by not getting a deal. You now DIY. In my opionion, the best when you have the time/temperament and skills.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think visiting these people is a waste of time. Or, it may be fun like it’s fun to watch commercials every once in a while (and laugh at how out-of-their-target you are).


  9. Waste of time! Their cost structure and risk aversion is such that returns will always be lower than a decent index. And a smart guy that knows a bit about value investing and option writing has a good change of beating the index …


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