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What's the Best Way to Hire an Investment Advisor?

Question:

"What's the Best Way to Hire an Investment Advisor and Do I Have to Use a Broker?"

Answer:

After two decades of study I have not seen any way to invest in public stocks, bonds, etc. without going through a broker.

Lower-cost investments are supplied by brokers, and higher-cost full service advisors, who charge a fee to help you, work through brokers to either recommend a brokerage for you to use or they then work with their own broker/dealer to implement the recommendations (which may or may not cost an additional amount).

You can try obtaining help to work towards your goals at both ends of the cost-spectrum (or try a blend or somewhere in between on the cost-spectrum). I suggest you try investing some money in both styles and keep switching providers until you find on that fits best for you. Right now I think the most I've seen to close an account somewhere is about $100, but you should ask before you set up the account.

If you do it all mostly yourself, you can keep most of your money at discount brokers like E*TRADE, Scottrade, Schwab, etc. who provide basic education mainly with 800 numbers, but they also try to have branches in the big cities.

If you want help with your whole retirement plan, which is not only investments, but cash flow (now and in retirement), and insurance, and real estate, and estate planning, you can use a fee-only advisor who probably charges $100 to $200 per hour and up. I know our clients prefer a set fee for a plan so they don't have to watch the clock during meetings.

Just always be aware of your worst case, best case and likely case when you try these options, and invest in big brand names so they will more likely honor any promises you are offered (get them made in writing). Also remember that any investment can lose money, so that's simply a promise you won't see unless you are buying some insurance (and then you only want to deal with A-rated companies).

My team and I are with the largest independent broker-dealer LPL (as ranked by Financial Planning Magazine), so we can set you up low-cost investments or the higher cost boutique money managers. Know that all the costs will be transparent and your fees as a percentage go down the more you have to invest. Long-distance investing and planning is something we do well all the time, if you aren't near one of our branches, so give us a try.

E-mail me at Jon.Dewar@LLGfinancial.com if you want any more ideas (or call toll-free 888-854-7526).

 

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