Poll

Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?

I pay for a financial planner.
1 (2.9%)
I pay for an accountant.
5 (14.7%)
I pay for both a financial planner and an accountant.
2 (5.9%)
I pay for neither a financial planner nor an accountant.
26 (76.5%)

Total Members Voted: 32

Author Topic: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?  (Read 9419 times)

FlorenceMcGillicutty

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Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« on: May 13, 2013, 08:40:37 AM »
I've been mulling over the idea of going to a financial planner and/or accountant for a couple of years now. I'm generally wary of doing this because I can't imagine anyone caring as much about my finances as I do. But as our situation gets more complicated and our time more crunched, I'm wondering if it's a good idea.

In brief, we have a nanny share, mortgage, and next year I will start vesting in a mix of stocks and stock options. I'd like to eventually add a rental property and create trusts.

Mustachians, I know lots of you have complex tax and finances. Please each me your badass ways!

Spork

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2013, 08:51:35 AM »
in the present: no.

in the past: Probably nearing 20 years ago, the lovely wife and I went to a financial planner.  We were lucky.  He was affiliated with AmEx and did really push the funds that kicked him a commission... but... he was also a really honest and genuinely nice guy.

For us, dealing with him was a bit of an "aha moment."  We were young and making good money and saving probably the minimum 6% each that went into 401ks.  He had us focus on a goal (not the same ones we have now... but that' ok.)  He got us to track our expenses and realize JUST HOW MUCH MONEY WENT NOWHERE.  We invested a little in his funds... but eventually ended up doing things on our own.  The most important thing we learned was that we were really leaking money everywhere.

olivia

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 08:54:50 AM »
I had an accountant do our taxes for the first time this year.  She charged $300 but saved us $2100, so I'd say it was a good deal.  Our tax situation just got more and more complex every year (stock vesting, stock sales, etc.) and I didn't feel comfortable doing it myself anymore.  And after she figured out additional deductions that saved me that much money, I'll definitely be back next year.

madage

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 09:03:54 AM »
Used to. Cost us a lot more money than it made us. Our financial planner, to his credit, picked very good funds for my 401(k), but talked us into a horrible variable universal life policy (abandoned several years ago in favor of a term policy with 2.5x the coverage for 1/3 the price) and set us up with Roth IRA's with 5.5% load on the funds plus a $15 per year management fee (huge when we were only contributing $50/month each). Wised up and un-did everything. I've heard that not all financial planners are bad, but I'd only be interested again if I looked for and found someone to act as a fiduciary on a fee-only basis. At present, we're doing very well without.

adam

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 09:50:40 AM »
The last two years were the first years I didn't do my taxes myself, we have been paying a tax accountant for that.  $200 to do our fed/state returns and worth every penny.

(if it wasn't for having two houses and renting one out halfway through the year then having it go empty then moving into it ourselves and renting the other house out and it sitting empty and etc, etc, etc... I would still be doing the taxes myself)

Nothlit

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2013, 10:34:17 AM »
I don't use a financial planner or an accountant, but one thing to keep in mind if you do is to look for an independent, "fee-only" planner. Do not go to a planner that works for a bank or investment firm, or anyone that works on commission. They will just try to sell you their (expensive) products.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2013, 10:40:06 AM »
Getting ready to for next year. I'm going to find a fee-based advisor so I don't have to worry about them pushing their own agenda, and probably have to find someone to handle the taxes too. I'm going to be dealing with multiple IRA distributions, capital gain/loss and medical bills to itemize, so I kind of think at this point, it may be worth it to have a pro do them.

The website http://www.napfa.org/ is a good place to start doing some checking.

matchewed

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 10:43:19 AM »
I don't foresee myself needing one. But I'm open to the idea if the plan changes to the point where I'm in uncomfortable waters (to use an awkward metaphor). Then while I learn the rules of whatever the plan has evolved to I'd use an accountant or financial planner to prevent costly mistakes and maybe even learn from them.

cynthia1848

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 10:50:26 AM »
Yes, we have an accountant, $800/yr.  DH does our asset allocation.

If you want to create trusts, you need an estate planning lawyer, unless they are real estate only and the real estate lawyer can do them.

brewer12345

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 10:52:25 AM »
I think you would be crazy to hire either one.  Nobody cares about your money more than you do.

oldtoyota

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 10:57:44 AM »
Financial Planner--Tried out Amex for about 30 seconds. Ran away screaming. Okay, not exactly.

Accountant--Yes. I had my own side biz for a bit and some complications. DH hated paying for it and took over doing the taxes. Since our situation has not changed, we're just filling in the blanks and basing what we do on what the accountant did last year. This will save us about $400.

If our situation changes, I would go back to an accountant. I do not have the desire to keep up on the latest in tax codes. I think it is worth it to have the help and advice for complicated situations.

Bank

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2013, 11:27:12 AM »
This is our first year hiring an accountant.  I have multiple state returns, a main business, a side hustle with partners, etc.  It just became too much to handle, particularly with a new baby due in early April.  It was well worth it, but I never would have hired him if all I had were stock dividends, interest, and W-2 income.

Financial planner is a different story.  For that I agree with brewer12345.  No one is going to manage my money but me.

*Edited to improve atrocious grammar and sentence structure.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 11:29:21 AM by Bank(rupt$y) »

FlorenceMcGillicutty

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2013, 12:51:26 PM »
Thanks for all the tips and advice! Sounds like an accountant might be worth the money as long as I get a decent price. I may hold off on it for one more year until I actually have to deal with the stock compensation.

Point well taken about an estate lawyer too. I really don't like paying for financial help, but I also find the trust and estate planning kits confusing. I'd want to make sure that's done right. Anyone else establish trusts? Is that not mustachian?

oldtoyota

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2013, 01:20:48 PM »
Accountants probably do see dollar signs. I have realized before that I'm doing a lot of the work by gathering receipts. However, this was one area I did not want to work on. I don't regret the money I paid him when I had two businesses and my own returns to do. Eek. I would not have survived doing three of them.

MtnGal

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2013, 03:49:14 PM »
I will second looking for a "fee only" financial planner. Tehn they do not have their own agenda.

Before I found MMM, I had used EJ. To his credit, he straightened out my 401k and got me to put more in my Roth IRA. But then when I started MMM, I actually looked at the funds he had me invested in... they had large expense ratios and 4-5% front or back load fees. Needless to say, I have since moved my money to Vanguard.

Beaker

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2013, 03:57:58 PM »
I'm actually in the process of starting with a financial planner. Primarily because I think they can do better with the investments than I can - they swing enough money to be able to get fund managers and corporate officers on the phone, and they can spend time paying attention to market things that I can't/won't. I'm not totally sold on it, but I'm sold enough to give them a year and see how it goes.

My guys seem to be a lot different than some of the others described here. They're almost aggressive about me knowing and understanding everything they're putting us into, virtually none of the investments have an expense ratio over 1% (and many have *lower* expenses than I could get as an individual - another benefit) and no loads anywhere to be seen. Perhaps it's just a matter of finding the right advisers?

Undecided

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2013, 04:04:30 PM »
I think you would be crazy to hire either one.  Nobody cares about your money more than you do.

Nobody cares about my kids more, either, but sometimes I decide to bring them to a doctor. Maybe the OP doesn't need to pay advisors, but the idea that "caring" (or even caring enough to become relatively well informed), is the only or best course of action in respect of anything is absurd.

brewer12345

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2013, 04:23:04 PM »
I think you would be crazy to hire either one.  Nobody cares about your money more than you do.

Nobody cares about my kids more, either, but sometimes I decide to bring them to a doctor. Maybe the OP doesn't need to pay advisors, but the idea that "caring" (or even caring enough to become relatively well informed), is the only or best course of action in respect of anything is absurd.

But a doctor is highly unlikely to steal a bunch of your blood and use it for their own purposes.  In contrast, a financial planner will pick your pocket over and over again.

Not doing your own taxes is simply being lazy.

Beaker

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2013, 04:29:54 PM »
I think you would be crazy to hire either one.  Nobody cares about your money more than you do.

Nobody cares about my kids more, either, but sometimes I decide to bring them to a doctor. Maybe the OP doesn't need to pay advisors, but the idea that "caring" (or even caring enough to become relatively well informed), is the only or best course of action in respect of anything is absurd.

But a doctor is highly unlikely to steal a bunch of your blood and use it for their own purposes.  In contrast, a financial planner will pick your pocket over and over again.

Not doing your own taxes is simply being lazy.

But a doctor could very well give you the wrong medication, or operate on the wrong body part, or ignore key symptoms. It happens all the time. My mother stopped the hospital from doing potentially fatal things to my grandfather twice when he was in the hospital.

The same definitely applies to a financial planner and accountants. You're paying them to help you, not to let you abdicate responsibility. Keep a close eye on them, and if they get out of line then fire them.

brewer12345

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2013, 04:32:45 PM »
I think you would be crazy to hire either one.  Nobody cares about your money more than you do.

Nobody cares about my kids more, either, but sometimes I decide to bring them to a doctor. Maybe the OP doesn't need to pay advisors, but the idea that "caring" (or even caring enough to become relatively well informed), is the only or best course of action in respect of anything is absurd.

But a doctor is highly unlikely to steal a bunch of your blood and use it for their own purposes.  In contrast, a financial planner will pick your pocket over and over again.

Not doing your own taxes is simply being lazy.

But a doctor could very well give you the wrong medication, or operate on the wrong body part, or ignore key symptoms. It happens all the time. My mother stopped the hospital from doing potentially fatal things to my grandfather twice when he was in the hospital.

The same definitely applies to a financial planner and accountants. You're paying them to help you, not to let you abdicate responsibility. Keep a close eye on them, and if they get out of line then fire them.

Suit yourself.  But an exercise for the reader: what is $1000 (or more) annually compounded at the rate of your choosing over one's lifetime worth?

travelbug

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2013, 04:46:20 PM »
We have an accountant. I think a great accountant, no matter what their fee is, is a very good investment when you have more than just a simple individual tax return.

We have our assets allocated within two companies and pay ourselves from them. It's a bit complicated and even though we pay our accountant alot of money per annum, he is well worth it to us. What he saves us by applying his knowledge to our investments is x10+ what we pay him.

That said, a financial planner is a different story. we know afew financial planners personally and their finances are a mess. Always ask them, before you hand over your hard earned money, what they invest in, what their portfolio is worth, and really really quiz them before you listen to anything they say.

If you are happy with what you hear from that angle. Listen to their advice, go and do your own research and never sign anything under pressure in the first meeting. If they do a hard sell, get up and leave. They are only after commission.

Do your own research before you go so you are educated and understand their advice, then you can also ask intelligent questions about what they are promoting. Remember that all (or most) planners are on a commission from whatever products they can sell you.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 04:49:50 PM by travelbug »

arebelspy

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2013, 05:01:21 PM »
Poll added.

I pay for an accountant, as my real estate stuff is beyond a level I want to attempt myself.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
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Undecided

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2013, 05:36:16 PM »
I think you would be crazy to hire either one.  Nobody cares about your money more than you do.

Nobody cares about my kids more, either, but sometimes I decide to bring them to a doctor. Maybe the OP doesn't need to pay advisors, but the idea that "caring" (or even caring enough to become relatively well informed), is the only or best course of action in respect of anything is absurd.

But a doctor is highly unlikely to steal a bunch of your blood and use it for their own purposes.  In contrast, a financial planner will pick your pocket over and over again.

Not doing your own taxes is simply being lazy.

But a doctor could very well give you the wrong medication, or operate on the wrong body part, or ignore key symptoms. It happens all the time. My mother stopped the hospital from doing potentially fatal things to my grandfather twice when he was in the hospital.

The same definitely applies to a financial planner and accountants. You're paying them to help you, not to let you abdicate responsibility. Keep a close eye on them, and if they get out of line then fire them.

Suit yourself.  But an exercise for the reader: what is $1000 (or more) annually compounded at the rate of your choosing over one's lifetime worth?

Suit yourself, but I am enough of a master of my profession to recognize that there are situations in which expertise delivers good value. Even though I do our family taxes (which include addressing a rental property, a K-1, a Schedule C, a benefit plan and two state returns), I have consulted with experts (colleagues, so I wasn't paying them) for two complicated situations in the past, and I think I would tell most people in a similar situation that they could reasonably decide to do something else with the amount of time (81 hours) I spent on monthly record keeping and preparing filings for the 2012 tax year. I'm not a tax lawyer, but I am a lawyer with enough of a background in tax law that I suspect it makes it comparatively easy for me to handle our filings competently and efficiently, too. Of course, most people have fairly simple tax filings and will never be audited anyway. Similarly, for most people's financial-planning needs (e.g., three Vanguard funds), a financial planner won't add anything, but in, e.g., setting up estate plans, a few hours of a specialist's time can avoid significant negative tax consequences. That said, I suspect that the overwhelming majority of tax preparers and financial planners are mostly serving clients who are underinformed and insufficiently engaged in understanding the major purposes and methods behind what their advisors are doing. In my own practice, even though my (very sophisticated) clients are coming to me for a narrow, deep expertise, they are typically really keen to understand the "why" and "how" of what I tell them, and I certainly try to bring the same attitude to my own use of advisors.

I guess I could use medical texts instead of a doctor, too.

PGH

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2013, 05:41:03 PM »
For our personal finances, we pay for neither. For our jointly-owned S corporation, we do pay for an accountant - primarily because I don't know enough about depreciation & amortization rules and because our state regulatory agency requires audited financials.

I've always used TurboTax to do my own taxes and only screwed up once (with no penalties owed). I used an advisor for a short time, but realized that I could do exactly what he was doing without owing any commission. I'm a high-risk investor with part of my stache, and it drove me crazy that he was always trying to talk me down from the ledge. As far as I'm concerned, that's "fun money," but he would never buy into that. So buh bye, financial advisor.

Zaga

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2013, 05:41:24 PM »
I voted that I pay for neither, but this is not strictly true.  If you count that I am just finishing up 3 years of schooling to become an accountant, I paid for it all right!

ETA, and my job offers free financial planning, and I have partaken of this a few times.  They didn't really tell me anything I couldn't have figured out for myself though.

FlorenceMcGillicutty

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2013, 06:01:22 PM »
Poll added.

I pay for an accountant, as my real estate stuff is beyond a level I want to attempt myself.

Thanks for adding this poll! It's great getting the perspective of the mustachians. 

nktokyo

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2013, 06:08:27 PM »
I pay for an accountant in two countries (New Zealand and Japan). I LOVE having other people take care of may tax filings and they save me far more money than they cost.

totoro

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Re: Do you pay for a financial planner or accountant?
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2013, 06:43:43 PM »
I pay for a corporate accountant happily.   No interest in a financial planner.