NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

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Teague
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NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Teague » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:21 pm

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/smar ... e=Homepage

Apparently everyone needs to hire a financial planner. Even financial planners should hire other financial planners.

“I liken it to WebMD. You can look up symptoms, but there’s a limit to what you can do with that information,” Mr. Brown explained. “Finance is the same way — you can find a lot of things on your own, but you need that deep knowledge.”

"Even experienced financial advisers don’t always handle their own cases. “I find that it is harder to manage my own affairs than those of my clients,” admitted Barry Korb of Lighthouse Financial Planning in Potomac, Md. “If I was a doctor, I hope I would know enough not to treat myself. If I was a lawyer, I hope I would know enough not to represent myself. Yet as a financial planner/adviser, I perhaps try too hard to manage my own affairs.”
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Clever_Username
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Clever_Username » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:24 pm

If I'm reading the article correctly, it's saying that financial planners are saying everyone should hire a financial planner. Is this an article or a paid advertisement masquerading as a news article?
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by triceratop » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:27 pm

I hired a financial planner: bogleheads.org.
Clever_Username wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:24 pm
If I'm reading the article correctly, it's saying that financial planners are saying everyone should hire a financial planner. Is this an article or a paid advertisement masquerading as a news article?
Heh, I know what you mean. That said, it's not sponsored content; just reads like filler piece for the newspaper.
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by frugalecon » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:32 pm

And here is the alternative viewpoint:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... 70a376b543

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by blindguardian » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:36 pm

I think it was an article by the Whitecoat Investor I read where he said a more valid comparison would be a lawn care service, rather than a medical professional. You can hire someone to cut your grass, but it's not that difficult to figure out how to do it yourself. He may have been talking more about managing investments than creating a financial plan.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by neurosphere » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:40 pm

Clever_Username wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:24 pm
If I'm reading the article correctly, it's saying that financial planners are saying everyone should hire a financial planner. Is this an article or a paid advertisement masquerading as a news article?
That's what it sounded like to me, one giant advertisement, with quotes only from financial planners or financial planner groups which make money on credentialing financial planners (e.g. the CFP board). And there wasn't really any useful information in the article, right? Or am I being too harsh.

But this is a tricky subject. I gave a 2-hour financial lecture the other day. This one was on types of retirement accounts, and basic investment strategies like target date funds vs 3-fund portfolios, the role of fees, etc. And I started the lecture as I always do "you should expect that all financial professionals you meet have one goal, which is to take money out of your pocket and put it into theirs". But at the end of the lecture one gentleman asked how he could know if he needed an advisor, and how to find one. And no matter how many times I get asked that question, I still don't have a good answer. I can talk about "If You Can..." all day long (and I often give out copies when I talk), I can plug Bogleheads, I can explain that if you graduated from college, graduated from law/medical/whatever school, you can certainly learn to do your own investing. BUT...many people won't do the basics to learn. And then again there is always the distinction between investment selection/advice and general financial planning.

But let's face it, how much education/reading would it take for a person just starting out their education to feel comfortable answering certain questions, like:
-- At my current tax bracket should I put bonds in taxable or use muni bonds? What kind of muni bonds? A fund? What duration? What's a duration? Is credit quality important? Etc.

We debate such subjects at BH every day and there is disagreement.

And the concept of an advisor needing advisor? Sheesh. That section was entirely self-serving, designed to make one think that EVERYONE needs an advisor, and you shouldn't POSSIBLY consider doing it on your own if even the PROS need another pro. I wonder, if you are an advisor to an advisor, who is YOUR advisor? Who is at the top of this advisor pyramid? :oops:

Sigh.
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes".

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by alex_686 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:44 pm

I will take the opposite side.

The problem with being DIY is that you don't know what you don't know. You get into a emotional and cognitive bias that a 3rd party can help out. The state of the art moves forwards. We might debate if factor investing is worth it but there is always a new tax wrinkle to think about it.

Just 2 issues. First, where do you find a good high quality ethical FP. Second, good high quality FPs tend to charge an arm and a leg because they know that they are good.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Teague » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:46 pm

I think I'm going to hang out my own shingle now. Financial adviser selection coach. For a reasonable fee, clients can tell me about their financial wants and needs (or tell me nothing at all, it doesn't really matter.) I will then direct them to a financial adviser, or website, that I deem "suitable" for their situation.
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by deltaneutral83 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:05 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:44 pm
I will take the opposite side.

The problem with being DIY is that you don't know what you don't know. You get into a emotional and cognitive bias that a 3rd party can help out. The state of the art moves forwards. We might debate if factor investing is worth it but there is always a new tax wrinkle to think about it.

Just 2 issues. First, where do you find a good high quality ethical FP. Second, good high quality FPs tend to charge an arm and a leg because they know that they are good.
I'll be much more inclined to have a fee only adviser when I'm approaching retirement for taxes, estate, and other similar issues. Hope to have younger family that I have shown BH ways as well to watch the quarterly statements to make sure cognitive abilities are still good to go. No reason why anyone in their 20s and will be accumulating for 30-40 years shouldn't be able to put together a 3F and simply rebalance yearly and peek once a month to make sure nothing fishy is going on in the account. I'm actually planning on needing someone (probably more sessions with CPA than adviser) to guide me in these categories when I get older.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by alex_686 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:21 pm

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:05 pm
Hope to have younger family that I have shown BH ways as well to watch the quarterly statements to make sure cognitive abilities are still good to go. No reason why anyone in their 20s and will be accumulating for 30-40 years shouldn't be able to put together a 3F and simply rebalance yearly and peek once a month to make sure nothing fishy is going on in the account.
There is a difference between cognitive bias and cognitive abilities, though there is some linkage. Oddly enough, the higher the cognitive ability the more likely some cognitive bias are. Arrogance in risk taking for example.

And how does one set a AA in a 3 fund portfolio? Risk and return in equities is not constant.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by remomnyc » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:23 pm

Maybe not everyone, but A LOT of people should hire a financial planner. All of my peers have a college degree and most have graduate degrees, but many aren't maxing out tax-advantaged space, or have their 401k in mutual funds with front loaded fees and high expense ratios, or have whole life rather than term life, etc, etc. I recommend books and send people to this site, and yet they come back to me and ask me to take a look at their finances when they should be asking a financial planner. I think many could manage ultimately their finances on their own, but I believe a lot of them need help getting their finances in order.

I've hired a financial planner twice. Once after we had kids and again when I was ready to retire. Both times it was money well spent. Finally, even though those of us on this site are interested in financial matters, many have no interest and don't want to educate themselves. They just want to be told what to do.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Snuffycuts99 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:32 pm

remomnyc wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:23 pm
Maybe not everyone, but A LOT of people should hire a financial planner. All of my peers have a college degree and most have graduate degrees, but many aren't maxing out tax-advantaged space, or have their 401k in mutual funds with front loaded fees and high expense ratios, or have whole life rather than term life, etc, etc. I recommend books and send people to this site, and yet they come back to me and ask me to take a look at their finances when they should be asking a financial planner. I think many could manage ultimately their finances on their own, but I believe a lot of them need help getting their finances in order.

I've hired a financial planner twice. Once after we had kids and again when I was ready to retire. Both times it was money well spent. Finally, even though those of us on this site are interested in financial matters, many have no interest and don't want to educate themselves. They just want to be told what to do.
I'm interested in what advice you received when hiring a financial planner in those situations. After having kids, was it to get advice on a will, 529, or something else? And upon retirement, did the financial planner advise upon AA or specific investments?

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Pacman » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:34 pm

remomnyc wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:23 pm
Maybe not everyone, but A LOT of people should hire a financial planner. All of my peers have a college degree and most have graduate degrees, but many aren't maxing out tax-advantaged space, or have their 401k in mutual funds with front loaded fees and high expense ratios, or have whole life rather than term life, etc, etc. I recommend books and send people to this site, and yet they come back to me and ask me to take a look at their finances when they should be asking a financial planner. I think many could manage ultimately their finances on their own, but I believe a lot of them need help getting their finances in order.

I've hired a financial planner twice. Once after we had kids and again when I was ready to retire. Both times it was money well spent. Finally, even though those of us on this site are interested in financial matters, many have no interest and don't want to educate themselves. They just want to be told what to do.
I think you make good points, but I'm not sure that hiring a financial planner is the solution. On this site, we see numerous situations where someone DID hire a planner and they ended up with the expensive funds, whole life, and other junk. I guess the only solution is Bogleheads!

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by vested1 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:37 pm

I read it this morning and was disappointed that there was no comment section. IMHO it was blatantly self-serving with a slant toward AUM, although not stated specifically, but rather referring to "ongoing" advice as your life situation progressed.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by HomerJ » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:45 pm

Teague wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:21 pm
"Even experienced financial advisers don’t always handle their own cases. “I find that it is harder to manage my own affairs than those of my clients,” admitted Barry Korb of Lighthouse Financial Planning in Potomac, Md. “If I was a doctor, I hope I would know enough not to treat myself. If I was a lawyer, I hope I would know enough not to represent myself. Yet as a financial planner/adviser, I perhaps try too hard to manage my own affairs.”
I always love how financial planners compare themselves to doctors and lawyers.

You don't even need a high school diploma to be a "financial planner".

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by CedarWaxWing » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:46 pm

The concept, in general, of using a financial advisor is fine. I find this list and the many books I have found (most of which are also on this list's Wiki) to be very good in that regard. I also have a good friend who is bogleheadish and he and I bounce things off each other both financial and in our own fields of study/expertise on a regular basis, often while hiking. (Way better than a stuffy office.)

In regards to the article:

1. The folly of using an FA is that so few of them have the essential requisites to be an excellent FA, including but not limited to: honesty, empathy, intellect, humility, benevolence, wisdom, insight, communication skills, genuine knowelege, ... fill in your own blank.

Most of them are better at selling than at planning for anyone's benefit but their own. They often play the role of cowboy well, but can't really ride.

2. Any comparison of an FA and their work to practicing medicine is a huge false equivalence makes the intent of the article suspect.

When I was in college and looked into life insurance a salesperson with a CFA claimed that his CFA was the equivalent of a Phd in finance and money management and that it is the height of professional achievement. Sorry guys, but paying your intellectual dues means a lot to me, and a CFA or a CFP may be necessary, but is certainly not sufficient.

So... thanks very much to this community for helping to make the word a better place. :)

M

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by HomerJ » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:47 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:44 pm
First, where do you find a good high quality ethical FP.
The problem is, once you know enough to determine if a FP is "good", you no longer need a FP.

Random Walker
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Random Walker » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:05 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:44 pm
I will take the opposite side.

The problem with being DIY is that you don't know what you don't know. You get into a emotional and cognitive bias that a 3rd party can help out. The state of the art moves forwards. We might debate if factor investing is worth it but there is always a new tax wrinkle to think about it.

I agree with the above. I was a diehard Boglehead 2001-2009 with an all VG portfolio. In 2009 I threw in the towel and went the advisor route. I agree that “we don’t know what we don’t know”, and that contributed to my decision. William Bernstein has written that by the time we know enough to choose a good advisor, we can probably do it on our own. Certainly a lot of truth to that, but I went advisor route. Larry Swedroe has written something to the extend “good advice doesn’t have to be expensive, but bad advice will cost you dearly”. If an advisor prevents a client from making one big behavioral error, that can cover years of AUM fees.

If interested, this thread contains a post by me describing my decision making process going from DIY VG to advisor DFA.
viewtopic.php?t=218193

DAVE

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by bradshaw1965 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:08 pm

The one consistent argument I hear for hiring a financial planner if you don't have complicated accounting or estate requirements is that they will act as a buffer for behavioral problems during difficult markets. The vast majority of these kind of folks could write a big check to their favorite charity or their heirs by following Jack Bogle's Invest. Stay the course. Don't peek. philosophy rather then writing yearly checks to a financial planner.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Clever_Username » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:10 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:45 pm
Teague wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:21 pm
"Even experienced financial advisers don’t always handle their own cases. “I find that it is harder to manage my own affairs than those of my clients,” admitted Barry Korb of Lighthouse Financial Planning in Potomac, Md. “If I was a doctor, I hope I would know enough not to treat myself. If I was a lawyer, I hope I would know enough not to represent myself. Yet as a financial planner/adviser, I perhaps try too hard to manage my own affairs.”
I always love how financial planners compare themselves to doctors and lawyers.

You don't even need a high school diploma to be a "financial planner".
You don't even need to be human. Didn't Allan Roth's dog qualify as a financial advisor? Granted, it was a dog who didn't panic and sell at the bottom in 2008, but still.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, _Layer Cake_

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by remomnyc » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:11 pm

Snuffycuts99 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:32 pm
remomnyc wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:23 pm
Maybe not everyone, but A LOT of people should hire a financial planner. All of my peers have a college degree and most have graduate degrees, but many aren't maxing out tax-advantaged space, or have their 401k in mutual funds with front loaded fees and high expense ratios, or have whole life rather than term life, etc, etc. I recommend books and send people to this site, and yet they come back to me and ask me to take a look at their finances when they should be asking a financial planner. I think many could manage ultimately their finances on their own, but I believe a lot of them need help getting their finances in order.

I've hired a financial planner twice. Once after we had kids and again when I was ready to retire. Both times it was money well spent. Finally, even though those of us on this site are interested in financial matters, many have no interest and don't want to educate themselves. They just want to be told what to do.
I'm interested in what advice you received when hiring a financial planner in those situations. After having kids, was it to get advice on a will, 529, or something else? And upon retirement, did the financial planner advise upon AA or specific investments?
After we had kids and way before I discovered BH, it was a full review. The financial planner reviewed our 401k plans, insurance, expenses, goals, and advised us on how much to save and invest (taxable, deferred, 529s, what funds) to meet our goals, whether or not to use a portfolio manager to manage our investments, how much term life, excess liability, long term disability to buy, etc. When I was ready to retire, it was cleaning up a portfolio (his, hers, and ours) that had tilts, reconfiguring it for tax efficiency, and coming up with a withdrawal strategy to fund college, a new home, and retirement. Both planners were hourly and neither manages assets or sells anything other than their time.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Meg77 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:11 pm

Most people don't need an investment manager, but I think most people could benefit from at least a couple of sessions with a financial planner. Maybe even an annual checkup. There are many worse ways to spend a few hundred or even few thousand dollars (depending on the amount of time you spend and work you'd like done). People pay trainers and nutritionists for the same reason, if you don't like the doctor/lawyer comparisons.

Even and perhaps especially those just starting out can benefit. Having someone help you prioritize financial goals, calculate the savings rates likely to be effective to meet those goals, pick the best funds in your 401k, answer questions about credit and budgeting, explain basic tax principles (make sure you're withholding the proper amount, tell you which receipts to keep and expenses to track), explain how an HSA differs from a FSA, help decide between Roth and Traditional IRAs, and so on and so forth, is essential. Older folks want confirmation of how much they can spend in retirement, advice on asset allocation, to discuss tax and estate planning concerns, to optimize social security income, etc. Some of us are lucky enough to have educated parents or friends to turn to (many ask me such questions as I am a Certified Financial Planner and work in banking), but many people don't.

Sure there is plenty of free info online - much of it good - but sifting through it and making decisions based on it and keeping up with changes as more research is done or laws are changed or products are introduced is difficult, not to mention massively time consuming. Therapists have therapists, and some financial planners do pay other financial professionals for some services, specifically because they know enough to know there are things they don't know. I hired a CPA for the first time this year to help me do my taxes, much to my annoyance. And I've thought of getting my whole financial picture reviewed by a financial planner to just identify any holes or optimization points I may be overlooking. I have colleagues I could turn to, but I don't want to reveal specifics with them. I want to talk through some of the things I think I understand about my K1s, debate whether doing a 1031 exchange is worth it on some real estate syndications, figure out how/when to sell some rentals, and discuss the merits of establishing an LLC or a FLP under which to make some of these investments with another knowledgeable professional. I want somebody else to review the private equity deals I have the opportunity to invest in, someone who has seen more of them than I have.

I also have questions about the extensive individual muni bonds in my mother's portfolio which I now manage for her. Whether I should maintain or grow the muni bond ladder, let it slowly mature, or sell everything and move to a fund - I understand some of the basic pros and cons, but I am no bond expert by a long shot. I've posted here about her situation twice and almost no one has responded. It's a complicated subject that is likely well worth a few hundred bucks for an hour with a planner who specializes in fixed income, even if just for a "this looks good" confirmation.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

bradshaw1965
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by bradshaw1965 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:13 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:44 pm

The problem with being DIY is that you don't know what you don't know. You get into a emotional and cognitive bias that a 3rd party can help out. The state of the art moves forwards. We might debate if factor investing is worth it but there is always a new tax wrinkle to think about it.
Why do you need state of the art? There is real value in letting go of that requirement since investing results don't yield to the pursuit of expertise. It's fine if it's your hobby, or you have a complicated business or estate but the discussion is whether everyone should hire a financial planner. The vast majority of people would be better served by not pursuing the state of the art in investing.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by CnC » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:26 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:47 pm
alex_686 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:44 pm
First, where do you find a good high quality ethical FP.
The problem is, once you know enough to determine if a FP is "good", you no longer need a FP.
This is 100% true. At best you find out you have a bad one too late.

I'm helping out my in-laws who managed returns in the 2% realm last year. When my eyes got really wide they explained that they told their financial advisor that they wanted safe investments. (fees were >1.5% and their return ended up being 2%) I explained I can mimmic the exact same risk via index funds and can't find out how their return was so low. Luckily most of their assets are in target date 401k funds and real estate/farm ground so their financial advisor didn't hurt them that badly.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by CedarWaxWing » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:29 pm

Neurosphere

But this is a tricky subject. I gave a 2-hour financial lecture the other day. This one was on types of retirement accounts, and basic investment strategies like target date funds vs 3-fund portfolios, the role of fees, etc. And I started the lecture as I always do "you should expect that all financial professionals you meet have one goal, which is to take money out of your pocket and put it into theirs". But at the end of the lecture one gentleman asked how he could know if he needed an advisor, and how to find one. And no matter how many times I get asked that question, I still don't have a good answer. I can talk about "If You Can..." all day long (and I often give out copies when I talk), I can plug Bogleheads, I can explain that if you graduated from college, graduated from law/medical/whatever school, you can certainly learn to do your own investing. BUT...many people won't do the basics to learn. And then again there is always the distinction between investment selection/advice and general financial planning.

But let's face it, how much education/reading would it take for a person just starting out their education to feel comfortable answering certain questions, like:
-- At my current tax bracket should I put bonds in taxable or use muni bonds? What kind of muni bonds? A fund? What duration? What's a duration? Is credit quality important? Etc.

We debate such subjects at BH every day and there is disagreement.

And the concept of an advisor needing advisor? Sheesh. That section was entirely self-serving, designed to make one think that EVERYONE needs an advisor, and you shouldn't POSSIBLY consider doing it on your own if even the PROS need another pro. I wonder, if you are an advisor to an advisor, who is YOUR advisor? Who is at the top of this advisor pyramid? :oops:

Sigh.
Nice comment. Thanks again.

Some people cannot, or will not read and learn from a book. There are some great videos on boogleheads also, and some great lectures I have found through this site and things it lead me to.

I would say that is also difficult to prevent being fleeced by an FA, and picking one at random, even on the reference of a friend (who may also be getting fleeced) is iffy at best.

For people who can read, and want to learn, a Target Date Fund is a pretty safe and effective way to get started. If one can never find it in one's inner self to read and learn in that fashion... the chances of doing well enough for as long as it takes are good with a TDF. The cost differences for a few years while starting out are not enough to matter a great deal while getting educated enough to branch out to an "itemized" asset allocation.

Reading only 3-5 books per year plus this website and following the tangents of websites/blogs/articles that it points out are superb.

After 1-4 years of that approach one can be educated enough to at least know if one does/does not need an "FA" or at least pick one intelligently.

At that point of course, one would then know enough to write a reasonable ISP, know how to use the Wiki on this site, and know how to find the right resources to go alone.

(One is never REALLY alone on this site... as discussions are quite enriched by diversity, resources, and experience.)

M

alex_686
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by alex_686 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:31 pm

bradshaw1965 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:13 pm
Why do you need state of the art? There is real value in letting go of that requirement since investing results don't yield to the pursuit of expertise. It's fine if it's your hobby, or you have a complicated business or estate but the discussion is whether everyone should hire a financial planner. The vast majority of people would be better served by not pursuing the state of the art in investing.
Here are a few questions. What is the correct weight of International Equity in a portfolio? What is the best US stock index, S&P 500, Russell 3000, or CRSP US Total Market Index. Should I invest in Target Date funds? What about TIPS? ETF v Mutual funds. IRA v Roth. etc.

The correct answer today was not the correct answer 20 years ago, and I doubt will be the correct answer 20 years from now. 1/2 of things which I cite did not exist - or were babies - 20 years ago. Standards change.

Do you want to pick up things ad hoc on the street or have somebody who has a holistic view of how these things fit together? I am not suggesting any radical products but things change.
Last edited by alex_686 on Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:33 pm

Meg77 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:11 pm


I also have questions about the extensive individual muni bonds in my mother's portfolio which I now manage for her. Whether I should maintain or grow the muni bond ladder, let it slowly mature, or sell everything and move to a fund - I understand some of the basic pros and cons, but I am no bond expert by a long shot. I've posted here about her situation twice and almost no one has responded. It's a complicated subject that is likely well worth a few hundred bucks for an hour with a planner who specializes in fixed income, even if just for a "this looks good" confirmation.
You need a fixed income shop that specializes in municipal bonds on a national basis. Don't go to a generalist when what you need is an experienced specialist. The biggest problem you are going to have is finding a firm that acts in a fiduciary capacity. What information do you need that you can't find yourself looking up the CUSIPs of the individual holdings? Why are you managing this portfolio if you don't understand it? Why do you need to manage it in the first instance, look up the ratings, remaining term, collect the coupons, receive principal. What happened to the firm or persons who sold these bonds to your mother? Growing the portfolio may mean your mother needs/desires tax exempt income. Link the post where you show the data, let's have another crack at this.
Last edited by Grt2bOutdoors on Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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IlliniDave
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:35 pm

I think a lot of people could benefit from a fiduciary financial planner, and arguably should consider one. But not "everyone".
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Dantes
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Dantes » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:38 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:31 pm
bradshaw1965 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:13 pm
Why do you need state of the art? There is real value in letting go of that requirement since investing results don't yield to the pursuit of expertise. It's fine if it's your hobby, or you have a complicated business or estate but the discussion is whether everyone should hire a financial planner. The vast majority of people would be better served by not pursuing the state of the art in investing.
Here are a few questions. What is the correct weight of International Equity in a portfolio? What is the best US stock index, S&P 500, Russell 3000, or CRSP US Total Market Index. Should I invest in Target Date funds? What about TIPS? ETF v Mutual funds. IRA v Roth. etc.

The correct answer today was not the correct answer 20 years ago, and I doubt will be the correct answer 20 years from now. 1/2 of things which I cite did not exist - or were babies - 20 years ago. Standards change.

Do you want to pick up things ad hoc on the street or have somebody who has a holistic view of how these things fit together? I am not suggesting any radical products but things change.
There is no single "correct" answer to these questions. But there are a variety of easy answers that are good enough.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Snuffycuts99 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:38 pm

remomnyc wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:11 pm
Snuffycuts99 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:32 pm
remomnyc wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:23 pm
Maybe not everyone, but A LOT of people should hire a financial planner. All of my peers have a college degree and most have graduate degrees, but many aren't maxing out tax-advantaged space, or have their 401k in mutual funds with front loaded fees and high expense ratios, or have whole life rather than term life, etc, etc. I recommend books and send people to this site, and yet they come back to me and ask me to take a look at their finances when they should be asking a financial planner. I think many could manage ultimately their finances on their own, but I believe a lot of them need help getting their finances in order.

I've hired a financial planner twice. Once after we had kids and again when I was ready to retire. Both times it was money well spent. Finally, even though those of us on this site are interested in financial matters, many have no interest and don't want to educate themselves. They just want to be told what to do.
I'm interested in what advice you received when hiring a financial planner in those situations. After having kids, was it to get advice on a will, 529, or something else? And upon retirement, did the financial planner advise upon AA or specific investments?
After we had kids and way before I discovered BH, it was a full review. The financial planner reviewed our 401k plans, insurance, expenses, goals, and advised us on how much to save and invest (taxable, deferred, 529s, what funds) to meet our goals, whether or not to use a portfolio manager to manage our investments, how much term life, excess liability, long term disability to buy, etc. When I was ready to retire, it was cleaning up a portfolio (his, hers, and ours) that had tilts, reconfiguring it for tax efficiency, and coming up with a withdrawal strategy to fund college, a new home, and retirement. Both planners were hourly and neither manages assets or sells anything other than their time.
Thank you for the response. :)

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Silly Wabbit
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Silly Wabbit » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:38 pm

Teague wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:46 pm
I think I'm going to hang out my own shingle now. Financial adviser selection coach. For a reasonable fee, clients can tell me about their financial wants and needs (or tell me nothing at all, it doesn't really matter.) I will then direct them to a financial adviser, or website, that I deem "suitable" for their situation.
Edward Jones will offer you a substantial referral bonus!

bradshaw1965
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by bradshaw1965 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:42 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:31 pm
bradshaw1965 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:13 pm
Why do you need state of the art? There is real value in letting go of that requirement since investing results don't yield to the pursuit of expertise. It's fine if it's your hobby, or you have a complicated business or estate but the discussion is whether everyone should hire a financial planner. The vast majority of people would be better served by not pursuing the state of the art in investing.
Here are a few questions. What is the correct weight of International Equity in a portfolio? What is the best US stock index, S&P 500, Russell 3000, or CRSP US Total Market Index. Should I invest in Target Date funds? What about TIPS? ETF v Mutual funds. IRA v Roth. etc.

The correct answer today was not the correct answer 20 years ago, and I doubt will be the correct answer 20 years from now. 1/2 of things which I cite did not exist - or were babies - 20 years ago. Standards change.

Do you want to pick up things ad hoc on the street or have somebody who has a holistic view of how these things fit together? I am not suggesting any radical products but things change.
I think Jack Bogle's advice is great. Invest. Stay the course. Don't peek. You can be in really mediocre high fee target date funds in your companies 401k and do just fine with that strategy. You can have really not ideal asset allocations and do ok.

The really big one for the article's target audience is the 1st one. Invest. People don't save enough and don't do it consistently. The 3rd one is the next big bear to fight, they don't behave well in difficult markets. The 2nd is another big one, they move in and out of investment options and don't get the markets return. If they pick a not great asset allocation, don't look at it until retirement and save consistently they will have done better with investments then most of their peers.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by daveydoo » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:44 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:45 pm

I always love how financial planners compare themselves to doctors and lawyers.

You don't even need a high school diploma to be a "financial planner".
+1. And unlike WebMD, you can learn about financial planning online and be better than your "advisor" in a remarkably short time. I had to explain to one well-compensated advisor what tax loss harvesting was and why it was a priority.

For amusement, subscribe to Kitces; 99% of the ccontent for advisors is how to get clients, retain clients, and convince them that you are "adding value." There is almost nothing about maximizing returns for your clients.
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Toons
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Toons » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:46 pm

I am 67 years young.
Eventually I might hire one...
Not today though









:happy
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alex_686
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by alex_686 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:49 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:45 pm
I always love how financial planners compare themselves to doctors and lawyers.

You don't even need a high school diploma to be a "financial planner".
Not sure what you point is. I know a doctor - DVM, not MD, who neither graduated high school or college. :happy

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:50 pm

Well now, I'd like to know what makes the New York Times "the" expert on determining whether a financial planner is actually needed.

If you have goals and a plan to get there, can do basic math and can make decisions based upon fact and not emotion you are 99% of the way there.
So, for the NYT to print an article that says "Everyone should", I'll just say take this advice with a big grain of salt. A better title would be "Some should.......
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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neurosphere
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by neurosphere » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:10 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:44 pm
+1. And unlike WebMD, you can learn about financial planning online and be better than your "advisor" in a remarkably short time. I had to explain to one well-compensated advisor what tax loss harvesting was and why it was a priority.
Agreed. And similar but different, I've had to explain to someone with an advisor, who was actually doing some tax loss harvesting, that the advisor wasn't worth 1.5% AUM to do so. :D

grok87
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by grok87 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:23 pm

Teague wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:21 pm
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/smar ... e=Homepage

Apparently everyone needs to hire a financial planner. Even financial planners should hire other financial planners.

“I liken it to WebMD. You can look up symptoms, but there’s a limit to what you can do with that information,” Mr. Brown explained. “Finance is the same way — you can find a lot of things on your own, but you need that deep knowledge.”

"Even experienced financial advisers don’t always handle their own cases. “I find that it is harder to manage my own affairs than those of my clients,” admitted Barry Korb of Lighthouse Financial Planning in Potomac, Md. “If I was a doctor, I hope I would know enough not to treat myself. If I was a lawyer, I hope I would know enough not to represent myself. Yet as a financial planner/adviser, I perhaps try too hard to manage my own affairs.”
Here’s the website of the journalist who wrote it...
https://lizzschumer.com

“” wrote: Living my passion project
For years, whenever anyone asked why I’m a writer, I’ve given the same answer: Because I can’t do anything else. And that’s mostly true. Everyone from my former teachers to the cashier at the bodega know I’m terrible at math. My memory isn’t worth the paper I write everything down...
"...people always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid them"- Jane Austen

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Meg77
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Meg77 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:30 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:33 pm
Meg77 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:11 pm


I also have questions about the extensive individual muni bonds in my mother's portfolio which I now manage for her. Whether I should maintain or grow the muni bond ladder, let it slowly mature, or sell everything and move to a fund - I understand some of the basic pros and cons, but I am no bond expert by a long shot. I've posted here about her situation twice and almost no one has responded. It's a complicated subject that is likely well worth a few hundred bucks for an hour with a planner who specializes in fixed income, even if just for a "this looks good" confirmation.
You need a fixed income shop that specializes in municipal bonds on a national basis. Don't go to a generalist when what you need is an experienced specialist. The biggest problem you are going to have is finding a firm that acts in a fiduciary capacity. What information do you need that you can't find yourself looking up the CUSIPs of the individual holdings? Why are you managing this portfolio if you don't understand it? Why do you need to manage it in the first instance, look up the ratings, remaining term, collect the coupons, receive principal. What happened to the firm or persons who sold these bonds to your mother? Growing the portfolio may mean your mother needs/desires tax exempt income. Link the post where you show the data, let's have another crack at this.
Yeah I'd definitely need a specialist. I happen to know one I used to work with who may do a cursory review for me in exchange for a nice lunch. I really don't want to hand it over to a bond manager though (it was with one previously, a well reputed firm who set up the ladder), so that minimizes my options.

My grandpa moved his whole portfolio to munis about a decade or so ago and paid a fixed income management firm, Breckenridge, to manage it. In light of the recent estate tax change, he gifted most of the portfolio to his 4 kids. The other three moved theirs, and my mom's remaining balance wasn't large enough to qualify for the preferred AUM rates my grandpa was getting (still like 0.30%), plus they are in another state and she had trouble getting anyone to call her back. Her own portfolio had been at Edward Jones for years, and that advisor is retiring. So she turned to me and I had her roll everything to Vanguard for now to save on fees. She doesn't tinker with anything anyway, so if it's just going to sit there it may as well sit at VG so I can redirect income into index funds and slowly help her optimize it.

I'm just nervous that with all the volatility in the fixed income market right now that just leaving the ladder in place (my original plan) could be a bad idea, especially as rates rise. I could sell it all and dump it in a vanguard bond fund, but some experts were paid a lot to put this thing together and paid special attention to things like market and risk diversification, duration, etc. - so I am not inclined to tinker with it or learn how to evaluate and trade bonds. However they probably would be actively trading bonds as rates move, etc. And not doing anything will mess up the portfolio profile over time anyway as bonds mature...anyway here's the link.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=242889&p=3805168#p3805168
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Whakamole
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Whakamole » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:33 pm

Meg77 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:30 pm
I'm just nervous that with all the volatility in the fixed income market right now that just leaving the ladder in place (my original plan) could be a bad idea, especially as rates rise. I could sell it all and dump it in a vanguard bond fund, but some experts were paid a lot to put this thing together and paid special attention to things like market and risk diversification, duration, etc. - so I am not inclined to tinker with it or learn how to evaluate and trade bonds. However they probably would be actively trading bonds as rates move, etc. And not doing anything will mess up the portfolio profile over time anyway as bonds mature...anyway here's the link.
Look at it this way, the managers of the Vanguard bond fund (assuming it is active, and I think nearly all of the muni funds are) are also paid to think about market and risk diversification, duration, etc. They just work a lot cheaper.

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Portfolio7
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Portfolio7 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:34 pm

I think it is worthwhile to see a good financial advisor at certain pivotal times, but also it depends on the complexity of your situation. I think the most critical time to engage one is a) when you are young and setting a course for family, college, retirement and B) 10-15 years before retirement and C) when you are deciding on your retirement date and withdrawal approach. I would gravitate to a fee only CFP - not to design your portfolio (though that can be part of the service), but to understand your wider financial risks, and decide which to mitigate and how much mitigation is warranted.... as well as make sure you've adequately addressed your savings goals.

We had a salesperson advisor 20 years ago, and he really didn't help us plan for the kids college as I'd have liked. Our saving plan was not aggressive enough. He also tried to put us in a VUL policy we didn't need. We dropped him within a few years, but if we'd had a better advisor, well, we'd probably be 5 years closer to financial independence.

Recently we hired a specialist to A) ensure we had a plan to ensure our special needs child was funded for their entire life and B) that our retirement plan was on track as we believed it was, and C) we could scrape together the resources to help our kids through college (not as critical as the first two, but something we want to do). She took one look at our portfolio and investment results and told us that we clearly had that well managed, and unless we had questions, she'd move on to look more deeply at the bigger picture. As a result of this work with the planner, we realized we needed more term life insurance on DW, and that the resources we could access to enable A) were greater than we had realized. Also our approach towards college was reasonable, but we could better time our resources going to A and C. Even had there not been specialized knowledge regarding special needs situations that we needed help with, it would have been a valuable experience to simply double check our assumptions and identify any risks we may have misjudged.

I expect we'll engage her services again in another ten years or so.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:12 pm

There is clearly a bias for the most part here to DIY.

I think forum members perhaps overestimate the overall population that has the type resources found on this forum. The population of Boglehead's is a small slice of the total investing community, so in all honesty many would be served better by a financial advisor. If they are fortunate, they find a low cost method, but if not there is a strong chance they would still be better off using an advisor if they lack the skills, the inclination, and willingness to learn. Education is expensive in some cases. Not my choice, but I don't believe I am representative of the general investing community.

Frankly I didn't get serious until the life-changing event, but I was fortunate enough that the lack of knowledge didn't hurt our portfolio very much. A more informed me would have more, but the present me has enough. I don't attribute my success to much other than luck. I made no terrible choices, and the choices I did make have worked out. I am OK with being lucky.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by daveydoo » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:20 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:12 pm
I think forum members perhaps overestimate the overall population that has the type resources found on this forum.
People of all walks have extensive knowledge about whatever their passion is -- off-road suspension, pistols, fishing, Broadway musicals, EDM, whatever. The financial "services" industry has made it intimidating to dive into this. They prey on our ignorance. But the *actual* knowledge base that is needed to self-manage even substantial assets is way smaller than any of my other interests or hobbies. You can spend a lifetime learning to take good photos.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

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1210sda
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by 1210sda » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:32 pm

There may be times when you need a financial planner and times when you don't need a financial planner.

But if you don't know whether you need a financial planner, you need a financial planner.

1210

Broken Man 1999
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:30 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:20 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:12 pm
I think forum members perhaps overestimate the overall population that has the type resources found on this forum.
People of all walks have extensive knowledge about whatever their passion is -- off-road suspension, pistols, fishing, Broadway musicals, EDM, whatever. The financial "services" industry has made it intimidating to dive into this. They prey on our ignorance. But the *actual* knowledge base that is needed to self-manage even substantial assets is way smaller than any of my other interests or hobbies. You can spend a lifetime learning to take good photos.
I agree. As it stands, successful investing isn't rocket science. But, the rub is learning it isn't rocket science.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by neurosphere » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:34 pm

1210sda wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:32 pm
There may be times when you need a financial planner and times when you don't need a financial planner.

But if you don't know whether you need a financial planner, you need a financial planner.

1210
I am neither disagreeing nor agreeing with this opinion. But it's certainly not one that's heard on BH that often!

As a financial planner, I'm certainly biased. But perhaps I'm biased in the other direction. Maybe I'm overcompensating. However, I've seen so many incompetent, unethical, ineffective, and just plain uneducated and unintelligent financial planners. But that observation in itself may be biased due to my long-term association with BH, or because I, of course, think that MY way BH way of doing things is better than other options. Hmm.

NS

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by dbr » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:52 pm

In my opinion the real issue is not the damage you might suffer if you don't seek professional advice. The real issue is the all too great likelihood you will suffer severe financial damage because you sought advice. There are very few areas of life where asking for help is more likely to hurt you a lot rather than help you a bit. This is a serious dilemma.

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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by grok87 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:53 pm

dbr wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:52 pm
In my opinion the real issue is not the damage you might suffer if you don't seek professional advice. The real issue is the all too great likelihood you will suffer severe financial damage because you sought advice. There are very few areas of life where asking for help is more likely to hurt you a lot rather than help you a bit. This is a serious dilemma.
+1
"...people always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid them"- Jane Austen

3funder
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by 3funder » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:01 pm

My financial plan is to not hire anyone to develop a financial plan for me. Now, if I needed specialized advice on how to do with a particular issue, I'd have no problem sitting down with someone for about an hour (fee-based, of course).

dcb
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Re: NYT article: Everyone should hire a financial planner

Post by dcb » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:08 pm

grok87 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:23 pm
Here’s the website of the journalist who wrote it...
https://lizzschumer.com

“” wrote: Living my passion project
For years, whenever anyone asked why I’m a writer, I’ve given the same answer: Because I can’t do anything else. And that’s mostly true. Everyone from my former teachers to the cashier at the bodega know I’m terrible at math. My memory isn’t worth the paper I write everything down...
Wow! And she writes for the newspaper with the motto "All the news that's fit to print". On the other hand, her article has prompted a fairly useful discussion of the value/or lack thereof of hiring a financial advisor.

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