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How many financial advisors do I need?

It’s good to have the opinion of advisors who are knowledgeable in various areas of your planning and portfolio, but for most portfolios this can be reasonably accomplished with one advisor. It’s a good idea to have one Financial Advisor who oversees all of your assets, and if the individual parts of your portfolio are of significant size, you might consider having a specialist in those fields to oversee them. Continue reading...

How often should I call my financial advisor?

While a client should be involved in communication efforts as well, it’s really the advisor that should be reaching out with information and scheduling appointments at least once a year. You should definitely discuss your investment portfolio with your Financial Advisor at least annually. Even if nothing has changed, it’s important to keep communication lines open. On the other hand, doing that more than once a quarter without a pressing need to do so might lead you to make poor decisions based on emotions and shortsightedness, rather than on investment discipline. Continue reading...

Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

The answer to this question will depend on the preferences and circumstances of each individual. As your assets grow and your financial picture becomes more complex (with unclear tax implications, and interdependent asset classes), then the answer is more likely to be yes. For those investors with a more modest-size portfolio, it may not be necessary. Financial modeling tools and market research publications are widely available, and while they are not one-size-fits-all answers, they can serve investors quite well when used wisely. Investors who choose not to consult an advisor must be willing to educate themselves. Continue reading...

What is a Financial Advisor?

The term "Financial Advisor" applies to professionals who are compensated for helping to implement investment strategies, but it is a broad and non-specific term. There are thousands of people who are called “Financial Advisors” – but within this category are various professions with different specialties and compensation structures. There are Financial Advisors, Financial Planners, Investment Managers, Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), and at times even CPAs, insurance agents, and lawyers are included in this umbrella term. Continue reading...

How do Advisors Charge and How Much Should I Pay?

It depends. There are three commonly used fee structures: fee-only, fee-based, and commission-based, Advisors can be compensated in three ways: It’s impossible to say exactly how much you will end up paying for an advisor – it really depends on the type of advisor you decide to hire, the amount of trading or planning you will be using them for, and the size of your portfolio. In some transactions with commission-based planners, you may not see any out-of-pocket cost; their commissions are built into the products in such a way that it may not appear that there is any direct cost for their services. Continue reading...

Do I Need an Advisor on a Permanent Basis?

Short-term advisor relationships do not tend to be very productive, and can sometimes be counter-productive, but advisors may still be useful for one-time consultations when an investor just wants an opinion on a specific issue. A long-term relationship with one advisor is preferable to many short-term relationships. Meeting with a new advisor will usually be part of a transition period where an investor is looking to try something new. The advisor may start out with some preliminary planning but the investor may jump to the next advisor before the former advisor could really shape the plan he or she was seeking to build. Continue reading...

Where Do I Find a Financial Advisor?

A financial advisor can be found through an online search, at events, or through the recommendation of friends. Believe it or not, while there are thousands of resources and databases, the best way to find a Financial Advisor is to ask your friends. You will need to determine a few basic criteria when looking for a Financial Advisor, such as geographical location, his or her age bracket, years of experience, frequency and medium of communication, and the amount of fees you are willing to pay. While there are thousands of resources and databases, sometimes the easiest way to find a Financial Advisor is to ask your friends. Continue reading...

How old should my portfolio manager Be?

While we do not doubt that a young advisor can be intelligent and helpful, there is really no substitution for experience and tenure. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to choose a manager who has experienced various market cycles. Younger advisors who have never helped their clients through a recession may not be as humble, prudent, or knowledgeable as ones who have. If you can find an advisor with over 10 years of experience, we would recommend that over an advisor with only 3, all other things being equal. There are advisors and wealth managers with only a few years under their belts but who have learned a lot in a short time. Continue reading...

What is a Good Financial Advisor?

A good financial advisor should care as much about your investments as you do, and be personable and knowledgeable enough to make the relationship worth your time, money, and trust. Choosing a Financial Advisor is a bit like choosing a caretaker for your child: you would want someone who gives you a sense of security, who has professional references or the recommendation of a trusted friend, years of experience, is reliable and honest, can foster growth, and ideally, will care about your child almost as much as you do. Continue reading...

Do I Need a more Specialized Financial Advisor?

Some advisors have practices that focus on specific types of investments or niche markets. If your investment portfolio seems to be lacking a particular area and you are not confident that your current advisor or you yourself can take on the challenge of incorporating the changes you desire, then you may want to speak with a more specialized advisor in that particular area. Similarly, some advisors focus on specific types of clients, such as medical professionals, and if such a category suites you then you may find that your needs are best met by someone who deals with people like you most often. There are some designations and certifications that advisors can earn beyond the standard ones, which may cause them to be sought out on certain topics or investments. Continue reading...

Where Can I Get Help With My IRA Investments?

There are several sources of information and help that you can tap into for your IRA. Your IRA is a vital component of your future retirement assets. The decision on how to invest is entirely yours: you might want to manage the assets on your own, or look for professional help. The choice of Financial Advisor who would help manage your IRA is similar to the choice of any other professional. For more, see “How Can I Get Help With My IRA Investments?” Continue reading...

Where do I Find a Good Attorney for my Estate Needs?

There are thousands of attorneys that specialize in estate planning, so choosing the right one for you can be a challenge. If possible, referrals are the best approach. Your Financial Advisor should definitely have resources and a network available to recommend a reliable estate and/or tax attorney for you — someone he or she has been working with for a number of years at least. Ultimately, the best source is a referral from a friend or someone else you trust. Continue reading...

How do I Choose an ETF?

There is guessing, there are screening programs, and there are advisors. As you can imagine, looking at the list of over 900 ETFs can give you a big headache. Fortunately, there are screening programs that can help you sort through the mess by giving you many criteria by which to search. You can narrow down the choices to a point where the research about each ETF will become manageable. In the process you will have to determine what is important to you, and what need you’re trying to fill in your portfolio. It can certainly help to bring that information to a financial professional that can help you choose the right ETFs for your situation. Continue reading...

What is FINRA?

FINRA stands for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and they regulate securities firms in the United States. FINRA has no political affiliation and is charged with governing all business dealings conducted between dealers, brokers and all public investors. In other words, the rules that dictate how your financial advisor interacts with you are set forth by FINRA. In all, FINRA oversees more than 4,500 brokerage firms, approximately 160,000 branch offices and more than half a million registered securities representatives, as of 2016. Continue reading...

Should I Buy the Same Companies Warren Buffett is Buying?

Absolutely yes. It would be a lot better if we knew about it at the time he was buying them, though. The only problem is, we only know which companies Warren Buffett bought after the fact, and this news has already been incorporated into the price by the time it becomes known to you (and everybody else). If you want to buy shares of companies that Warren Buffett is buying, purchase shares of Berkshire Hathaway – his investment vehicle. It can also still work to purchase shares of the same companies he does. Continue reading...

Should I Buy a Long-Term Care Policy?

Whether you should own a long-term care insurance policy depends on a myriad of factors, including but not limited to affordability, family medical history, your liquid net worth and your cash flow needs in retirement. It also depends on your ability to make consistent premium payments to ensure your policy stays in force over time. Since a Long-Term Care plan requires you to keep paying the (steep) premium until you actually start to use the coverage – or you’ll lose it, it may not be a great idea to buy the policy if you have financial insecurities in the near (or even distant) future. Continue reading...

What is Investment Advice?

Professional investment advice is highly regulated, and all publications, seminars, correspondence and recommendations between professional advisors and clients must be kept on record and hold up to scrutiny. It is easy to mislead or misinform investors who have not had a chance to educate themselves, and their very livelihoods are at stake if their money is mishandled. Investment advice can be found at the local barber shop, bleachers, and beaches, but those who want to make sure their money is handled correctly will seek professional advice. Continue reading...

If Everyone is Talking about Buying Gold, Should I Buy Some for My Portfolio as Well?

Gold is one of those things that gets plenty of hype and that most investors think they understand well. Gold, as any other commodity (silver, platinum, palladium, oil, wheat, copper, coffee beans, etc), might be a valuable part of your asset allocation. It is important to recognize, however, that gold is an extremely volatile commodity, and there is frequent chatter and hype surrounding it that easily influences many investors. Continue reading...

What are Investment Ideas?

Many services today offer investment ideas to consumers, some through subscription services, some available on a public website. Almost none of it is meant to constitute investment advice, in the legally-defined sense, because investment advice is only to be given by a licensed professional with regard to the individual situation of each person. Investment ideas are published by websites and subscription services to educate and inform people about possible ways to make money investing. This might include tips on stocks, bonds, funds, options, real estate, collectibles, and so on. Continue reading...

What is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)?

An RIA is an asset manager that is registered with the SEC (in whatever state(s) they operate) and complies with certain rules and regulations. RIAs typically earn their revenues through management fees, which are almost always based as a percentage of assets under management — the average management fee is between 1% - 2%. Having management fees as a percentage of assets allows for the interest of both parties to align - as the assets grow, so does the nominal amount of fees the RIA earns. Continue reading...