Had Enough of Magazine Style Financial Advice?

A lot of people get a lot of information from the internet, magazines or other media. I understand many people do not seek out a financial adviser/planner for a couple of reasons: (1) They have no idea what we do and (2) They have no idea what we’re worth, how much we charge etc… (I could add a third reason I hear fairly often and that is “I’m so embarrassed, my finances are such a mess.”)

Fear not dear reader, but do not continue to get advice only from magazines, online sites or anywhere else media-related because (1) it is so watered down and (2) it may not apply to you at all. It’s hard to connect the dots when you read articles on personal finance because no one is directing you, guiding you. But what, you worry, will you have to pay someone like me to get such guidance?

There is an active discussion on one of the Linked In groups to which I belong (which has turned pretty heated, I must say) about what kind of planning financial planners provide and what they charge for it. There are many advisers who don’t charge anything for their advice because they get compensated if/when you act on it and purchase a financial product. That’s all fine and good, I used to do the same thing (until I finally made peace with the fact that I stink at selling but that’s another story altogether). I personally don’t like this model because it makes it seem like the advice is worthless (well, maybe it is).

There’s another group that provides some planning as part of their services (usually investment management). They typically charge a nominal fee ($250-$500 if anything) to set up an asset allocation which, of course, coincides with their investment philosophy.

Another group (my group) provides planning and advice for a fee and we may or may not offer financial products and/or services (most do, however). I understand most in this group charge around $200 per hour and address more day-to-day planning issues such as budgeting, debt reduction, retirement and education planning when there may not be any assets to manage (so they aren’t desired by those firms that provide the planning in exchange for your investment portfolio).

I know times are tough and that everyone is much more aware of how they are spending their money. But if you knew how to best use you money, wouldn’t that be a worthy investment?

How has the magazine-style advice helped you?
Did it tell you something you didn’t already know?
Did it address how this advice pertains to you?
Did it warn you about any other issues that should be considered?

Do you know why people with advisors experience more financial success and peace than those who don’t? Because each of you is unique and a good advisor respects and makes recommendations based on that fact.

Photo courtesy of ClipArt.

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About Amy Jo Lauber

I help people who are overwhelmed take control & make good financial decisions with confidence and experience peace and abundance. Are you ready to say goodbye to working hard but not having anything to show for it? Go to www.lauberfinancialplanning.com "Let's Talk" tab to schedule your complimentary initial consultation and take the first step on the path to financial empowerment.
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2 Responses to Had Enough of Magazine Style Financial Advice?

  1. Dave says:

    Hi Amy, I find any kind of advice I have received, be it in person with a financial advisor or through media, seems to be biased. My wife and I are rolling funds from her former employment over to our credit union. The “free” advisor at the credit union is suggesting a big chunk (100K) be invested in a Prudential “B” variable annuity (my wife’s risk tolerance is very low) and the remainder (65K) into actively managed mutual funds. I’m leery of both of these strategies but only based on what I’ve read on the internet. We have done neither to this point. I’ve read your post on annuities. What is your take on actively vs. passively managed mutual funds? We are 57 and 59 years old if that matters. Thanks.

    • Hi Dave, I am treating this request as part of my “Money Ministry Monday” series but I’m afraid any advice I give may seem like magazine style advice because I must be generic unless and until I know more about your situation to make any clear and concrete recommendations. Know that nothing is free, but I am not opposed to people in my business earning commissions, it’s just not something I choose to do in my practice.

      First of all, determine that your wife MUST move her 401k funds over to an IRA, sometimes you can keep the money in that account. Often times employer plans have lower negotiated account management fees and it can buy you time to research appropriate recepticles for the money.

      Second, if there are two large chunks, I’m wondering why not put one large amount into the mutual funds because you’ll probably qualify for lower (what are called “breakpoint”) sales charges. The advisor should disclose and explain (and, if you qualify, recommend) the breakpoints.

      Third, I also would not invest all of it right now, the market’s at its high. Dollar-cost-average it in over time. I don’t have strong opinions one way or another regarding passive versus active managed fuds; both have pros and cons.

      Fourth, be very careful regarding the annuity. Most require you to keep the money in the annuity for several (7-10) years or face a rather steep penalty (typically 7%). I cannot say if that is an appropriate option for your wife or not, it depends on many factors (tax bracket, income needs, risk tolerance, time horizon, emergency reserves, health, longevity…).

      Good luck. Take your time and trust your instincts.

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