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Objective Opinions Of Investments Hard To Find

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 9:44 PM
I just cut and pasted the entire Q&A from Asset Builder on advice for
getting an independent review of an investment.  (There's a second Q&A
addressing annuities of less interest.)

     Q. My wife and I are in our early sixties and have multiple retirement
        accounts. One IRA through Wells Fargo Advisors is worth about $215,000.
        This investment is in a managed fund that Wells Fargo administers. We
        are not well versed in the particulars of investing and would like to
        get an independent party to review all of our current investments as
        to performance, fees, etc.  We are willing to pay for this service
        and, at the same time, not be hustled or asked to move our
        investments.  We have been with the same broker (his father first)
        and trust him, but we would like an independent review.  Can you offer
        suggestions as to who or what companies we can turn to for this
        service? —J.P., Nashville, TN

     A. Getting a dis-interested, professional opinion in investment matters
        isn't easy. Most participants have an interest of some kind in getting
        your business on an ongoing basis rather than as a one-time
        consultation. Your best bet is to visit the National Association of
        Personal Financial Advisors website and inquire about a NAPFA advisor
        in your zip code. The website is at www.napfa.org and the association
        is of fee-only planners. Fee-only, however, does not mean one-time
        consultation only and most advisors are seeking annual, repeat fee
        business. This isn't a sin. It's a way to pay the light bill.

        You might also consider taking a slow, do-it-yourself approach. You
        could do this by visiting the Morningstar website, printing reports
        on the funds owned, and seeing how they compare to other funds in
        their category. Since Morningstar has a standardized set of measures
        and ranks all funds in a consistent, standardized way, you will
        quickly see if the choices have performed well relative to other
        funds, have reasonable expenses compared to others, and rank well
        when risk is considered as well as return. The same exercise will
        put you in a better position to understand what a consultant is
        talking about when you go for a one-time session.

        You don't have to become an investment professional to have useful
        knowledge. But a basic knowledge of the lingo will do a lot for you.

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cumuluscumulus297 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
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