Author Topic: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations  (Read 1787 times)

bigskyrookie

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Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« on: December 27, 2021, 10:21:53 AM »
Hello mustachians,

I am looking for a financial advisor that is fee only, specializes in early retirement, focuses on index funds, and will work with me remotely. Any suggestions?

Thank you!

nippycrisp

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2021, 10:51:14 AM »
I'm sure what you're asking is possible, but you're really asking for trouble. A financial advisor will take your money, but there's always the possibility they'll be looking to convert you to a percentage-based client. To do that, they may be incentivized to overcomplicate things, give questionable advice, and hype up risks that really aren't issues.

You've posted advice requests on budget and investing on the forums over the years. Let me ask - did you take the advice you received and, if so, did it work well for you? If the answer to btw questions is yes, why would you want to pay someone to possibly screw around with success? (If you answered the first question with 'no', why are you here?)

I've only worked with one financial advisor: when I was 12, I'd saved $2,000 and wanted to invest in Checkers/Rally's because I liked the food. My dad's financial "guy" talked me out of that and had me invest the money in four(!) different American Growth funds with 3% expense ratios and 5.75% loads. I'm not sure what kind of kickback he got for working over a 12-year-old, but at least you know he was willing to do what it takes to put gas in his Acura. 

My dad still works with the guy and doesn't understand why my net worth is double his. 

ixtap

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2021, 12:33:56 PM »
Any reason it isn't sufficient to post a case study here or on bogleheads?

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2021, 05:44:42 PM »
The problem is if someone set up a business like that they would only need to give their client a handful of articles (how to build a balanced account with a handful of ETFs, order of investing accounts, etc), and then what?  They get a few $$ pay day and then never see you again, and don't make enough money to sustain a business.

You are in a middle ground of investing confidence / knowledge.  You know enough to know that high fee "financial advisors" are really bad for your financial future, but not quite enough to be willing to go out on your own.  Personally I would say go with a robo-advisor, and based on MMM himself's article on Wealthfront not only are they good for balancing low fees, but their tax efficiency and loss harvesting more than pays for their fee (at least in his example, and according to their website most of the time it does). 

Sandi_k

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2021, 11:15:58 PM »
PlanVision and Mork Zoril.

We're clients, and very pleased. $189 for Year One, and then $8 per month thereafter.

https://planvisionmn.com/

cool7hand

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2021, 06:06:57 AM »
PlanVision and Mork Zoril.

We're clients, and very pleased. $189 for Year One, and then $8 per month thereafter.

https://planvisionmn.com/
Thanks for posting this recommendation. It's not right for us, but it could help people who don't want to do the work themselves.

bigskyrookie

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2021, 07:10:12 AM »
Sandi_k, thanks for this recommendation. This is very helpful.


DaTrill

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2021, 01:54:17 PM »
Open account with large discount broker and follow their self-directed programs. 

Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard, Fidelity all have programs for small new investors that are less expensive and better than any advisor can provide.     

Sandi_k

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2021, 02:32:29 PM »
PlanVision and Mork Zoril.

We're clients, and very pleased. $189 for Year One, and then $8 per month thereafter.

https://planvisionmn.com/
Thanks for posting this recommendation. It's not right for us, but it could help people who don't want to do the work themselves.

To be clear, they do require that you do a lot of the work - and data entry! - yourself. It's one reason they're so inexpensive. And since they are NOT investment advisors, and don't have to keep up with FINRA and SEC regulations, their compliance work isn't complicated.

They also have a very clear idea of who their clients should be - and who they should NOT be. From their website:

"So there is no limit to the number of times I can contact you? Really?"

Answer: No limit.  We want you to feel comfortable that you can reach out to us without the meter running when you have a question. However, donít abuse this.  The success of PlanVision depends upon our clients appreciating our business model.  Be respectful of our time. Donít setup up 50 minute appointments every couple of months.  If you reach out to us every week and want to have a session monthly, after a while we will just send your money back Ė you obviously havenít figured it out the program.  We havenít had to do this yet.

:D

Sandi_k

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2021, 02:34:05 PM »
@bigskyrookie - you are welcome!

bigskyrookie

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2021, 03:20:37 PM »
I would appreciate any suggestions others might have. It would be great to compare a couple of options. I am not looking for someone to manage our investments but to instead help us with our overall plan and check in each year. The types of things we need help with are ensuring that we are prioritizing the right accounts, optimizing tax reduction, etc. thanks!

travel2020

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2021, 05:42:37 PM »
PlanVision and Mork Zoril.

We're clients, and very pleased. $189 for Year One, and then $8 per month thereafter.

https://planvisionmn.com/

Thanks @Sandi_k for the recommendation. I looked at their website and watched some videos and it looks pretty comprehensive. Can you share any generic info on the kinds of things they were able to do/recommend that you found helpful? Asking as Iíve been had session with a vanguard advisor as well as Schwab and found them both lacking. vanguard was mostly cookie cutter allocation pitch and quarterly rebalancing with not much depth re tax implications, withdrawal strategies, etc. Schwab advisor spent a lot of time collecting/inputting data just to tell us to switch over to one of their automated portfolios.

Thanks in advance.

Car Jack

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2021, 06:30:35 PM »
Fidelity has a pretty good tool that I found was pretty reasonable for future predicted finances.  It does require a lot of input, but that's what I need with a lot of various investments.  It lets you put in your retirement date, so if you plan to FIRE, you don't get some standard "you need enough to live off of 4%" which absolutely doesn't work if you retire at 39 or something.

I also have built myself a lifetime excel spread sheet, initially to show my wife what we'd have when I expect to die.  I've kept it up with investments, expected future income and expenses.  It goes year by year.  Why I find it useful is that college expenses (for me to my kids) is really high, but only for limited years.  You can put in things like replacing a car, re-roofing your house etc.  The old % of investments for spending is only a very rough estimate to tell you if you have any chance of going without a job from now on.

Sandi_k

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2021, 11:21:58 AM »
PlanVision and Mork Zoril.

We're clients, and very pleased. $189 for Year One, and then $8 per month thereafter.

https://planvisionmn.com/

Thanks @Sandi_k for the recommendation. I looked at their website and watched some videos and it looks pretty comprehensive. Can you share any generic info on the kinds of things they were able to do/recommend that you found helpful? Asking as Iíve been had session with a vanguard advisor as well as Schwab and found them both lacking. vanguard was mostly cookie cutter allocation pitch and quarterly rebalancing with not much depth re tax implications, withdrawal strategies, etc. Schwab advisor spent a lot of time collecting/inputting data just to tell us to switch over to one of their automated portfolios.

Thanks in advance.

Remember that these are NOT investing advisors. They are very MMM/Boglehead-ish in their mindset - low cost index funds, some cash savings/emergency fund, and appropriate insurance. So if you're wondering about asset allocation, that is NOT what they do.

Instead, they give you a snapshot, using a program (apparently the same one that Fidelity uses) to help project cash flow and spending in retirement, to see if you're on track.

Here is my writeup, of our two meetings with them:

Meeting One, Data Entry Walk-Through

PlanVision is a financial planning service that charges $189 in Year 1, and $96 annually thereafter. For that fee, you get access to an advisor, a web site, the eMoney tool (also used by Fidelity), and consults with the team as needed. They keep it cheap because it is a consultation and planning fee, and an access to the tool fee; they do not manage your funds; they do not do investment advising (although they are fans of simple Index funds, and the "Boglehead" style of investing). It's also cheap because you do your OWN data entry into the tool, rather than compiling it for them, and having them do the data entry.

Where we started:

I paid the fee, and got an immediate email with a link to the eMoney tool, which they use for both a client-side and an advisor side view. They also provide very detailed instructions, and short "recap" videos for clients, already pre-recorded and posted on YouTube. So as you focus on putting in your details for income, savings, retirement accounts, holdings, etc., there is a video with screen shots and instructions on how to think about it, including how to enter your information in a coherent way.

It took me about three hours to do all the data entry, and to name our multitude of investment accounts, so that I could easily tell which link was which account - and whether it was pre- or post-tax. I also had to have DH go to ssa.gov - he had to set up an account, and get his SS retirement estimates. (This is then uploaded to their secure server "vault").

I then submitted a "finish" email to them. That prompted an auto-reply, with a calendar link, so I could schedule my first 15 minute intake interview with their CS rep.

About a week later, I got a non-auto email, from the CS rep, telling me that I had done such a thorough job, it was clear we could skip the 15 minute intake meeting, and move straight to the 60 minute "go through it in detail" appointment. So we canceled the first checkin, and scheduled the detailed meeting.

Where we are, Sept. 2021:

So, the first meeting went well. We went through all of our accounts, our investments, discussed our savings, my pension, our assets and liabilities, our expected expenses in retirement, the balance of pre-tax and Roth accounts, with our 4 year conversion plan for DH's SEP-IRA. He noted a couple of area where I had mis-interpreted the question on expenses: ("Expected expenses for dental care in retirement?" - I answered with a $2k per year x 30 years = $60k, where they instead wanted the $2k per year figure).

He also drilled down into my projections of expenses in the first 5 years of retirement. (A really useful aspect of the tool - I said, for example, that we expected to spend ~ $125k in the first 5 years on home improvement, and another $125k on travel and "fun", so our spending in that first 5 year period is waaaaayyyy bigger than our income. Which you can see quite clearly in the Cash Flow Projection tab.

They had tabs in the planning tool that were also reviewed:

- Demographics
- Financial priorities
- Protection - e.g., insurance for the house, LTC, life insurance, umbrella insurance
- Observations & Next steps Ė more advisory, leave it for next consultation appointment
- Legacy Functions Ė if you have kids or charities to which you want to leave money, the eMoney tool lets you plan for that.
- Liabilities Ė mortgage, HELOC, or other Loans (car, personal).
- Expected Income, with customizable windows (first 5 years pension, next 5 pension + DH's SS, then pension + two SocSec income)
- Expected expenses

He also told me their planning assumptions:

- Stocks' estimated growth set at 5% while working, 3% when retired. 1% growth assumption for real estate.
- Assume 1.2% COLA for pension.
- Expenses Ė typical thinking is that the clients do about the same things in retirement as they do now. Assume that from retirement to 80, client is doing fun stuff; and then from 80, not nearly as busy. One section for daily expenses; one section for fun, until age 80; then one for travel; one for medical care; one for pre-Medicare and post-Medicare.

He also wanted to know how involved my DH is in planning, and made sure that he would be available for the "deep dive" with Mark. They prefer to have both members of the couple in on the conversations, as it's helpful to build knowledge, and answer all questions.

So our next meeting is scheduled for late September - my schedule is too busy to do something earlier. I'll update more then.

Interim Assessment, Between Advising Meetings, Late Sept 2021

This past weekend I went back in and drilled down into several of the more interesting menus. It makes some assumptions about retirement cash flow, such as we won't tap our retirement investments until RMD age, which is wrong.

And yet it also assumed that our income in the first 5 years (where I noted we'd be pulling no-longer-restricted funds out for some home projects) ensured a huge tax bill - like $90k annually. Well, I don't think I could bear a tax bill that high, so I'm sure there will be some changes to how much we pull out each year. Perhaps set a tax bracket/IRMAA threshold, like no more than $225k total income from all sources, and model from there.

The modeling is easing my concerns about not enough to support both DH and I at our current levels of spending, plus home renos; since none of the models take any inheritance into account, we're gonna be FINE. So much so that, should I get "re-orged" out at work with the new boss' vision and plans, I'm pretty confident I'll just choose for us both to retire.

Meeting Two, Financial and Cash Flow Analysis, Oct 2021:

So, we had our consultation today. It was helpful, and reassuring.

Our main question was - are we in shape to retire as planned, at age 60 & 62? The answer is a resounding YES. So we are all systems go for the planned November 2025 timeline.

The meeting went through a lot of screens, and we talked about a lot of our assumptions. As noted before, they have "baked in" return assumptions of 3% in retirement; inflation at pre-set levels; they assume we take SocSec at FRA; they assume we leave investments in retirement accounts until RMDs kick in. All of those assumptions can be edited.

There were still a couple of gremlins that we corrected - for example, I am assuming we'll spend an additional $40k in Years 1-6 of retirement on travel, and an additional $25k for 4 years on home improvements, such as a new deck, and upgraded kitchen and bath. Mark Zoril realized that the $40k per year was enacted in Year 1, and then continued every year, instead of ending after one year. So he fixed that. He also realized that our HELOC didn't have an "end date" in the system, so we edited that to show a "lump sum" repayment in Year 7 of retirement. (We took it from Roth accounts, so that there was no associated tax impact in the report).

So now I know that we can pay off the HELOC in one lump sum from savings, and removing those funds from our cash flow doesn't affect the success of our plan. And I know that spending big bucks on travel and home improvement in the first 5 years of retirement will not create a failure result for our plan, either.

All in all, it's clear that we're in good shape. Because I have planned with "worst case scenario" expectations, we have a lot of elasticity in our program, and my fixed pension is a huge boon to our plans. So if the new boss decides that I am not his cup of tea, we can tighten our belt and make it work.

The final result is a 14 page report, showing us projected cash flows; income tax amounts (both Federal and other); assets; and a year-by-year chart of income, estimated expenses, planned distributions, taxes, and savings. For us, income will include pension, two Social Security accounts, and withdrawals from our investments, at ~ 4% of an estimated $1.3M annually.

It concludes with:

Over the course of your retirement years, you can expect total costs of $7,327,857. During this time, you will have total retirement inflows of $8,184,258. At the start of retirement in 2025, your projected portfolio assets will be $1,254,856. Desired assets remaining at death are $0, but projections show a portfolio value of $2,369,308 in 2055, when the youngest member of the couple will be 90 years old.

Probability of success: 100%.

Note that this requires me to hang on for another 4 years, and adds substantially to the pension income. Given that huge pot of assets in 2055, this may mean I choose to retire sooner, even if we leave money on the table.

Mark concluded with letting me know that I can send email at any time to update the projections; I'm going to play around with the inputs, and see what it looks like if I advance retirement by one year; two years; three years. Having those models will be really helpful.

Totally worth the $189. Three thumbs up.

travel2020

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2021, 02:23:04 PM »
PlanVision and Mork Zoril.

We're clients, and very pleased. $189 for Year One, and then $8 per month thereafter.

https://planvisionmn.com/

Thanks @Sandi_k for the recommendation. I looked at their website and watched some videos and it looks pretty comprehensive. Can you share any generic info on the kinds of things they were able to do/recommend that you found helpful? Asking as Iíve been had session with a vanguard advisor as well as Schwab and found them both lacking. vanguard was mostly cookie cutter allocation pitch and quarterly rebalancing with not much depth re tax implications, withdrawal strategies, etc. Schwab advisor spent a lot of time collecting/inputting data just to tell us to switch over to one of their automated portfolios.

Thanks in advance.

Remember that these are NOT investing advisors. They are very MMM/Boglehead-ish in their mindset - low cost index funds, some cash savings/emergency fund, and appropriate insurance. So if you're wondering about asset allocation, that is NOT what they do.

Instead, they give you a snapshot, using a program (apparently the same one that Fidelity uses) to help project cash flow and spending in retirement, to see if you're on track.

Here is my writeup, of our two meetings with them:

Meeting One, Data Entry Walk-Through

óó snip ó-

Totally worth the $189. Three thumbs up.

Thanks @Sandi_k , this is very helpful! Appreciate the detailed response.

Sandi_k

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2021, 12:56:23 AM »
@travel2020  - you are welcome!

bigskyrookie

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2022, 06:44:16 PM »
Thanks @Sandi_k !!!

bigskyrookie

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Re: Need FIRE financial advisor recommendations
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2022, 06:45:20 PM »
Iím really hoping to get some other recommendations for an advisor if you have any. Thanks everyone!

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!