Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Schwab are among the better choices. Dimensional Fund Advisors funds are low costs but may make it difficult to extract yourself. Be cautious if the wer for investments is an insurance company.
A satisfactory wer is yearly.
Fee-only advisers are best for most clients. Professionals usually charge about 1% of investments managed each year. A fee of 1% is neither a small charge for what may be limited effort on the adviser’s part nor a small percentage of your annual growth. It can easily be a third or more of your annual returns which can trlate to a loss of more than half of your nest egg at retirement or even more when elderly.
It’s very important to understand what you are getting if you decide to turn your investment management over to someone for a fee. Investments compound at the return rate which is interest plus dividends plus appreciation less investment costs and less professional fees, each as a percent of investments. You need net returns greater than inflation for true growth.
An important reason to consider turning your investments over to a professional is a failure to do well on your own. You can get a good idea of your own performance over the years with the free, Excel based, Annual and Compound Return History program.
To check out your own performance with this program, it’s good to have several years of investment annual deposits, annual withdrawals and end-of-year balances as well as a computer with Excel. Many people use it just to track the history of their savings balance.
Answers could be about inflation, taxes, health and death.
Fee-based advisors may charge a percentage of assets managed (generally 1-2%) or an hourly or flat fee according to account size and services offered. Note: Fee-based advisors may receive commissions for recommending certain products, such as insurance policies or annuities. License #0795323.
Services may include financial planning, investment management and others.
Advisors often specialize in investment strategies that can include specific investment vehicles such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds, etc., and styles such as Large Cap, Small Cap and International. Explain your preferences to determine the advisor's knowledge about your area of interest.
Some advisers only take high-net-worth clients. That may not be suitable for you.
Costs are likely to be the lowest from fee-only advisers who don't take commissions, don’t get rewards for selling particular funds, don’t receive 12b-1 kickbacks, don’t sell funds with front-end or back-end loads. They also advocate low cost providers like Vanguard, Fidelity TIAA-CREF, or T. Rowe Price, recommend broad market index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and have low turnover to minimize trading and brokerage costs.
The average mutual fund cost is 1.25%. Low cost funds have costs less than 0.5% of the investment balance each year. Broad index funds, based on major market indexes like the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index SPX, +0.18% which has stock in 500 of the largest U.S. companies, and the Russell 2000 Index RUT, +0.81% which has stock in 2000 of smaller companies, bought from low-cost financial firms can be significantly lower. Costs are in addition to an adviser’s fee.
Will it be the person you are interviewing or with another associate at the firm? Who will manage your portfolio? What contact will you have with that person?
Neither will give you a perfect wer. Constant returns and inflation in forecasts don't include the effects of a retiree having to make a withdrawal in a down market year. In contrast, Monte Carlo computer models vary returns every year using statistics of the past in numerous iterations. Some vary inflation too. Monte Carlo analysis gives a “success probability” assuming that the statistics of the future will be the same as the past, something that many forecasters believe doubtful.
William Bernstein, a highly respected analyst and author, suggests using no more than a 6.5% return for equities and 3% for bonds. With results from my own programs, I lean toward using the actual returns and inflation for each year starting with 1965 because I feel we will face similar conditions with periods of high inflation and serious volatility.
Since none of us can really forecast the future, what’s important is to do a new forecast each year using the most recent balances and future events as you see them at the time to adjust your savings or spending accordingly. Future events should include the need for some long-term-care and death of a spouse with consideration to survivor benefits.
This useful page on the Financial Planning Standards Council site reports recent disciplinary actions.
While past performance does not guarantee future results, ask to see performance numbers on portfolios similar to yours in both up and down markets. Compare them with relevant benchmarks, such as the S&P 500*, during the same period.
The more equities, the higher the risk. Younger people can employ a higher percentage of equities because they usually have higher long-term returns but comes with more volatility.
Good responses include index funds, real-estate investment trusts (REITs), highly rated bonds, certificate of deposits (CDs) and a portion of money markets. Be cautious when the replies seem to promote managed funds, individual stocks, a directly owned real-estate property, reverse mortgages, commodities, long short funds, partnerships of any kind including master limited partnerships (MLP), options, hedge funds, investments with limited withdrawal privileges, collectibles, thinly held securities, and annuities with high costs and lots of fine print that provide flexibility for the insurer but not you.
Also be VERY cautious about replies that imply the adviser can do much better than the S&P 500 index with the adviser’s selection of equities. Very few professional beat the index, and it’s rare when they beat it for several years in succession.
If you believe you wouldn’t understand the responses, take someone with you or try to remember the responses and talk to a knowledgeable person later.
An advisor should be able to give you the names and phone numbers of three current clients. You may also request contact information for professional references such as their banker, lawyer and CPA.
If it doesn’t, it isn’t a very complete analysis.
Again, I don’t think they should because the discounted value of all future payments is huge in comparison to the size of most people’s savings. Since financial advisers are prone to classify such “investments” as fixed-income, that me your savings would have to be 100% equities, a decidedly risky position.
Typically asset-based fees are billed quarterly and financial planning services are billed by the hour.
Experience counts a lot in the financial field, especially the experience gained in periods with plunging markets.
This is a legal term meaning they have a fundamental obligation to provide suitable investment advice and always act in your best interests, not theirs. They should also be willing to give you a written statement that they accept this responsibility.
I personally don’t think they should because I believe a home is an investment of last resort, perhaps convertible to a reverse mortgage when elderly at which point it is a debt, not an investment.
Services could include retirement planning, manage securities, estate planning, tax planning, insurance, long-term-care advice, newsletters, and so forth.
Practice size, which is indicated by number of employees, assets under management, average portfolio size and number of clients, may affect your relationship.
You will want to know the number and skills of associates, whether this is a stand-alone firm or part of a large company, the amount of money they have under their control, the kind of clients they serve, and who will help when the person you are interviewing isn't available.
1 through 4 would be a satisfactory wer while a number 5 through 10 implies that the adviser thinks he can foretell the future and even its timing.
Again, if tax rates aren't considered, it isn’t a very compete analysis.
You ought to think about what kind of wers you would want before the interview. Then, as you get responses from the advisers, you’ll have a better idea whether this adviser is suitable for you and may be a better fit than the others you are considering.