19 August 2008

Boomers and Their Finance Advisers

What our financial adviser said (continued from yesterday's blog). When I disclosed that I was retiring from a public university and not seeking a similar position anywhere, our adviser said, "You'll never make it!" She knew that my early-retiring husband's salary would end in 2008, and that the expected course was to rely on my income for the next 11 years. (That means pushing off any withdrawals from 401K and IRAs in order to protect them for the long term, that span of retirement that will be 25 to 30 years.)

Who is this nervy adviser? Well, it's a family member. The professional advisers at the investment companies were quietly respectful and merely said, "What accounts do you want to move where?" The in-family adviser fretted a little and fumed a little and finally started to make the projections I needed to justify this change in career. (I'll still be in education, just not on a campus.)

How many advisers does a boomer woman need? Obviously, I need more than one. (Itemization is below.) What I've determined from this recent round of career decision-making is that I like having one in the family. An in-family adviser knows my real habits, not the ones I posture for the outside-adviser. She also knows when I'm serious ("I can stop buying clothes") and when I'm not ("I can give up travel"). Most important, she is my most-motivated adviser. If my career and investments fail, she'll have to support me. Fidelity hasn't made that promise to me.

Advisers of everything. Under one big umbrella of "finance adviser," we variously mean financial planner, investment adviser, stock broker, and maybe even retirement counselor. The terms become crucial if we intend to talk to an adviser who is certified, registered, or somehow regulated. A good online resource to check is the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards; the site has a concise list of descriptions of Financial Professionals.

Being assigned an adviser. Most of us don't select an adviser. We are assigned one by the firm we contract with. I've had two personal bankers, two personal stock brokers (before switching to discount brokers), and three investment advisers. Of that number, three have visited my home and a fourth even visited my classroom (to give a lecture, not to consult with me). That's a lot of personal contact, so you would think that I would put more effort into the choice of adviser. But my association with them has been accidental. Of course, the in-family adviser might make the same argument.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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