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October 09, 2007


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hi, I'm sure you've done a lot of research for your disability insurance. Could you share with the readers as which one of these (DI underwriters and their plans) that are good? Thanks.

I think that's good advice. From my experience, even if you find an advisor who gets your investment temperment and is reasonable in his rates, you still need to ask yourself whether you are getting value for your money. For example, I have one that manages a rollover. I think he's a great guy and gets my risk tolerance. He's never trying to upsell me things or pressure me into anything. But I can't help but wonder if the money I'm paying him in a fee and the delta I am paying in terms of the higher costs of non-index funds is worth it. He's beat market averages, yes, but so have most portfolios made up of a collection of indexes.

So I think this is one of those areas that, even after you've cut through all the "quality" factors of the advisor, you still have to ask yourself the psychological questions of what you find valuable and worth paying 2-3% in potential earnings. Is it consolidated retirement planning type services? Etc. I'm still not sure what my answer is to the question, although I can say I am unsure enough about it that I do most of my stuff on my own.


You know my info (Agency Director of a Fee-Based Financial Planning firm)... I can justify my position, without (hopefully) getting a horrible reaction from your readers.

1) I am the guy who coordiantes those people! While this is not a massive part of my job, it should be listed.

2) Most attorney's who write a will do a simple "I Love you Will" which gives everything to surviving spouse and if she/he has predeceased then to the kids. This ignores the coupon the government gives you to get money out of the estate (Credit Shelter Exemption), thereby overfunding the estate on the second death. I am ready for the response that most people don't hit the $2mil mark for federal estate tax, but what about the $1 mil mark in NY (especially with our real estate) or the $675K mark in NJ? Part of my job is "helping" those attorneys.

3) What about the non-basic Financial stuff? ILITs, QPRTS, FLPs, and other ridiculously confusing acronyms when dealing with a comprehenisve financial plan. We have gifting techniques, freezing techniques, and discounting techniques - all tools that should be known and understood by any compentent planner.

4) Yeah anyone can learn about an asset allocation using vanguard MF/Indexs, but what about a little bit more advanced stuff? Without details - exploration, hedging etc etc.

There is a HUGE difference between a true planner (maybe even with an advanced degree!) and an overpriced insurance salesman, just wish you would separate the two.

Don --

It's on my list.

Evan --

Looking forward to your pieces. :-)

I am in the process of getting my CFP [taking courses now, God willing I pass this the CFP test]...I am wondering and I will open the question to the forum. Is there a designation you look for in your financial planner?

Being only 27-years of age and wanting to become a full-time planner, what is a youngster with uber knowledge to do withOUT 10-years of experience as Suze recommends?

Like Evan mentioned before, I envision being the coordinator as I have worked at a law firm for 4-years now and also work with a tax attorney. So my hope is to assist people on a fee-only basis and push folks to the attorney's I work for to complete wills and estate planning.

Thoughts? Thanks everyone!

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