Welcome to today's live chat! Joining us today is Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, and Senior Editors Jeff Kosnett and Bob Frick. For the next hour, they’ll be offering advice and taking your questions how to find the right financial professional for you. Thanks for joining us Janet, Jeff and Bob!
We're having a few technical difficulties here. We'll get started in just a few. Thanks for your patience!
Alright, Janet, Bob and Jeff, you all here now?
Mainly, for the big picture, and beacuse tax troubles are worse than investment mistakes--- you have to pay in the first case, while time may heal in the second. Plus, CPAs can be great sources of referrals.
There are few more complexities added to this year's tax forms, especially if you sold financial asset last year, so an accountant's handholding could come in handy (literally).
I'd add that the list of deductions grows every year, and it's hard to keep up with them. You may be paying more than you should, if you have a complex return.
Jeff, what kind of referrals?
To insurance agents, lawyers who specialize in trusts and estates, those sorts of pros who you aren't as likely to know on your own.... just as you probably know a dentist, but not an endodontist.
Jeff, how do you know what kind of pro you might need?
Great. Let's move on to our first reader question from Shelly.
You might not until there's a life change-- retirement, serious illness, sale of a business---- all sorts of life's contingencies.
Depends on how simple it is, Shelly. You can do it online at sites like LegalZoom.com, but it probably still pays to have a lawyer give it at least a once-over when you're finished. And if it's more complex, you probably need to see a lawyer in the first place.
Oops. Make that LegalZoom.com. :-)
Shelly, if it's a fairly straightforward will, it probably won't cost that much even if you see a lawyer.
Thanks, Janet. Next question is from Karen.
Usually, you can expect quarterly printouts full of charts and graphs and comparisons to benchmarks and the amount of risk you're taking. But they shouldn't shake up your portfolio allocations without telling you so and why, even if you give the adviser discretion to trade.
Right. There should be no surprises when you receive a statement.
Yes, especially if when you receive a statement and it shows your portfolio has changed significantly.
I'd say so, because one principle is that you should know where the money is at all times and so longer than quarterly makes no sense. It costs almost nothing for an adviser to print or e-mail you this info.
Also, Jeff and Bob, should the update be coming from a third-party custodian?
You also need to make sure a third party is auditing your adviser.
Another follow-up from Karen. We'll get to the next reader shortly.
Stephanie, your question is next.
That sounds like they are just using Schwab as a marketing label then and not much else. Are you and the adviser not communicating because of some personal disagreements?
Thanks, Karen. Now, here's Stephanie's question.
So this is for money in addition to your 401(k) savings?
If you need a financial professional for investment advice, a financial planner is a good place to start. We like fee-only planners, so you're paying for advice directly.
A simple plan and some investment advice will cost a few hundred dollars.
Stephanie, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is a great place to start. We host a chat with NAPFA planners once a month.
Stephanie, you have fairly straightforward finances, so you could hire a planner for a couple of hours to give you an overview of what you could be doing. You could find a planner through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (www.napfa.org