If personal finance is difficult for you, carefully hire a good financial and investment adviser
A previous financial article, “The Solution – ONLY follow financial strategies that are scientific, passive, diversified, savings focused, risk controlled, low cost, and tax efficient,” suggested that investors are much better off with a well-considered financial plan. A stable set of financial beliefs can help you to keep focused and on track throughout your life. This follow-up article discusses how important it is for people to be careful when they select a financial advisor.
If you realize that you need help with your personal financial planning, get a good financial advisor.
However, be very, very careful with your financial advisor selection process. A good financial advisor could make things much better. A poor one could make things much worse. (See: Financial advisor costs and the value of their investment strategies determine your return on investment from these investment advisor services)
Competent, self-directed investors may have less need for a financial advisor, when they adhere to financial planning strategies and investment funds purchasing practices that are similar to those summarized in The Skilled Investor’s “Financial Decision Rules” articles category. By already following more optimal investment returns strategies, they may find it more difficult to justify the cost of a financial planning and investment advisor.
In contrast, individual investors may repeatedly cost themselves substantial sums by making behavioral errors, and these investors could benefit from the assistance of a good financial advisor. For them, the cost of an advisor may be easier to justify, because of their personal finance inefficiencies. Investors with investment behavior problems might pay the advisor’s costs and still come out substantially ahead relative to having done more poorly on their own. (See: Value-added and value-diminishing investor activities and What is the cost to individual investors of sub-optimal portfolio diversification?)
If behavioral control is difficult or implementation is confusing for you, then you should carefully select and hire a good advisor. You will still be the ultimate decision maker, but you can empower your financial advisor to try to keep you in bounds, while you listen seriously to his or her advice. However, if you do decide to hire a financial planning advisor and/or investment advisor, do not take this advisor selection process lightly. The financial advisor you choose could help you to make or break you lifetime financial plan. The Skilled Investor has written expensively on financial advisors to suggest ways that individuals can improve their advisor selection process. (See these articles on Selecting an Advisor and these articles on Regulation of Advisors)
Selecting a financial advisor just because your relative, friend, or neighbor trusts the financial advisor they are using could be a disastrous way to choose an advisor. How do you know that this person did their homework when they selected the advisor that they trust? Many of the advisory scandals reported in the media show that one person trusted the recommendation of another person and on and on. Unfortunately, nobody along this chain of referrals did their homework to check the advisor’s background, competence, and ethics. In the end, they all get taken for a ride on the dead end train of financial greed.
Unfortunately, many people have thrown up their hands at the seeming complexity of doing personal financial planning and investing. They use slipshod methods to quickly pick a financial advisor and hope that this advisor will do what is right for them. Unfortunately, advisor selection is a minefield and lack of knowledge among financial advisors and financial conflicts of interest are major culprits. (See these articles on Payment of Advisors and these articles on Advisor Fraud)
Tags: personal financial plan
Personal Financial Planning
- Summary Table of Traditional IRA and Roth IRA Tax Rules (Summary Table of Traditional IRA and Roth IRA Tax Rules
For your convenience, The Skilled Investor has provided a detailed table that summarizes 2007 rules for traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs.
Because this table has 13 columns and 20 rows, it is too large to be displayed properly in a blog posting. To view this table and [...])
- Calculating Your Personal Investment Management Wage and the Opportunity Cost of Your Time (
Your personal investment management contribution is the total value that you add to your investment portfolio less the opportunity cost of your time.
When divided by the hours you spend, you can estimate an hourly wage for your personal investment management contribution. Obviously, the objective is to have a high investment wage. Unfortunately, for most people [...])
- Pay Lower Investment Expenses To Get Higher Investment Returns (
Pay Lower Investment Expenses To Get Higher Investment Returns - Part 1
Excessive investment costs are a plague on your personal financial planning.
Excessive investment expenses are one of the most significant barriers to lifelong family financial security. While financial services industry sales people tell you that you need to pay more to get more, the correct [...])
- Set a Minimum Portfolio Size Threshold for Mutual Funds and ETFs (
Choose mutual funds and ETFs with a minimum economical portfolio size
If you are going to invest in actively managed funds, then you should want them to have a sufficiently large asset base to fund the necessary research.
If an active fund is too small, then fund management quality can suffer or fees could grow. Index funds [...])
- How many stocks are needed for a well-diversified portfolio? (Industry rules-of-thumb often state that 15 to 30 stocks are enough for a well-diversified portfolio. This can be very misleading.
Recent studies point out that industry rules-of-thumb on the number of stocks needed for a well-diversified portfolio are simply not adequate. These rules-of-thumb most often state that 15 to 30 stocks are enough. “The Truth About [...])
- American Funds – EuroPacific Growth Fund – Class A Shares (AEPGX) get a +2 Fund Authority Score (The diversified investment fund strategy of American Funds' EuroPacific Growth Fund
According to American Funds' Annual Report for the EuroPacific Growth Fund, the fund "seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in the securities of companies based in Europe and the Pacific Basin." American Fund's 497 filing on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR system [...])
- Choose objective and competent financial advisers and investment counselors – Step 10 of 10 Financial Planning Steps in the Right Direction (CLICK HERE TO READ THE SKILLED INVESTOR's OTHER ARTICLES ABOUT THESE "10 FINANCIAL PLANNING STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Pick financial and investment advisers solely to obtain objective and high quality advice. Specific financial and investment advice is potentially of high quality, if it is carefully customized to your particular needs and is given by an [...])
- 22 Ways to Avoid Financial Advisor and Investment Counselor Frauds and Scams (Avoiding financial advisor and investment counselor frauds and scams - Overview
The best way to avoid being defrauded or scammed by a financial or investment advisor is to investigate carefully several different advisers before hiring one of them.
If you carefully choose a financial adviser or investment counselor, you have a far greater chance of finding one [...])
- American Funds – Capital Income Builder Fund – Class A Shares (CAIBX) attain a +4 Fund Authority Score (Fund Authority Scores rate mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) on the most important economic factors that influence individual investors' net long term diversified investment fund performance. The Skilled Investor developed the Fund Authority Score system to provide individual investors with concise and objective summaries of mutual funds and ETFs for comparisons within investment [...])
- Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) achieves a +9 Fund Authority Score (
The diversified investment fund strategy of the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund
According to the Vanguard website, the investment strategy of the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index mutual fund is to use a "passive management—or indexing—investment approach designed to track the performance of the MSCI® US Broad Market Index, which represents 99.5% or more of [...])
- Vantagepoint 500 Stock Index mutual fund Class II Shares (VPSKX) rate a +9 Fund Authority Score (Here is some really good news for you. The Skilled Investor has published an article about lower cost S&P 500 index mutual funds that you can read, entitled: Low Cost S&P 500 Index Mutual Funds. The Standard & Poors 500 stock index is the most common equity index fund benchmark in the U.S. The S [...])
- How Investment Sales Loads and One Time Investment Fees Work (Understanding one-time investment fees, such as sales loads
Sales load charges and commissions on investment purchases differ from the financial service industry's numerous other recurring methods of charging fees to their retail consumers.
Sales loads are less straightforward to analyze for investment lifetime cost-effectiveness, compared to annually recurring charges. (See: Pay less to get more)
If you have [...])
- Understand the Confusing Securities Market Motion Picture (
Securities markets are usually very quick to adjust prices to reflect new information. However, this price adjustment process may take longer and be more volatile, if the new information is ambiguous.
At any point in time, market participants will already have used more or less rigorous valuation methods to judge their expected risk-adjusted value of securities. [...])
- Fidelity Spartan 500 Index mutual fund (FSMKX) achieves the Best +10 Fund Authority Score (
The Standard & Poors 500 stock index is the most common equity index fund benchmark in the U.S. The S and P 500 tracks about 75% of publicly traded U.S. equity market asset value. The dominant issue in choosing among passively managed index mutual funds and ETF funds benchmarked against the S & P 500 [...])
- American Funds – Washington Mutual Investors Fund – Class A Shares (AWSHX) acquire a +2 Fund Authority Score (Fund Authority Scores rate mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) on the most important economic factors that influence individual investors' net long term diversified investment fund performance. The Skilled Investor developed the Fund Authority Score system to provide individual investors with concise and objective summaries of mutual funds and ETFs for comparisons within investment [...])