Is It Always This Difficult to Find a Financial Planner?

Thanks to working at my “traditional” job for 11 years that included a dollar for dollar match on my retirement contributions after 5 years of service, I have a nice 6 figure retirement account.  However, I left that job 1.5 years and the money is still just sitting there with my old employer.  The problem?  I can’t find a financial planner I trust, especially since that is currently our only retirement savings.

Jedi Salesman

This is not the Adviser you are looking for…

Adviser 1–In It for The Money

I first met with a financial adviser at our credit union to discuss transferring the money into my own IRA.  This is important because my retirement is currently part of the state’s retirement fund.  Unfortunately, in the state I live in, the higher officials have been siphoning money from the state pension fund and can’t agree on how to replace the money.  If I don’t move the money soon, I am worried it won’t be there!

This adviser highly recommended an annuity even though I am still fairly young.  He promised it was a safe investment that would give me money every month.  The problem?  I would only get about $1,000 a month 30 years from now when I retire.  After inflation 30 years from now, $1000 doesn’t sound like such a good guarantee.  A bit of probing helped me determine that the adviser works on commission and makes the biggest commission selling annuities.

Moving on, thank you.

Adviser 2–Helpful but Too Busy

Next, I turned to my accountant’s firm.  Her husband is a Dave Ramsey trained financial adviser.  This sounded perfect, and when my husband and I talked to him over the phone one night this past summer, he asked all of the right questions and seemed to have our best interests in mind.  He took the time to ask where we were financially right now as well as where we would like to be.  He recommended some investments, and we planned to talk in about 4 weeks to start the paperwork to move my retirement.

The problem?  We haven’t talked to him since.  I have left some messages for him; he has left some for me, but over the months, we have just played phone tag.  I last called in early December because I wanted this whole issue resolved before 2013 began.  We are well into 2013, and I still haven’t heard back from him.

Moving on.

Adviser 3–A Keeper?

When my cousin casually mentioned her financial adviser at Christmas, I pounced on her.  Who was he?  Would she recommend him?  Does he get back to her quickly?

She raved about him and said he was attentive and that the investments he chose were making them good money.  She gave me his number, and next week he is on my list of people to call.

When I quit my job 1.5 years ago, I would have never guessed finding a good financial adviser is so difficult.  I feel like I am back on the dating scene again trying to find just the right match.

Is my experience unique, or have you, too, had trouble finding a financial adviser to work with?  What did you look for in a financial adviser?

img credit:Brad Montgomery on Flickr.

Investing Made Simple

Investing Made Simple: Index Fund Investing and ETF Investing Explained in 100 Pages or Less

By: Mike Piper (

I had the opportunity to meet Mike at the first FINCON in Chicago last year.  He’s a thoroughly nice guy.  I knew him from his blog and website, but for some reason I hadn’t known the extent of his authorship.  I found out at FINCON that he’s written several books (9 of them if I count right) on personal finance.  They mostly lean towards the topics of investing, but even encompass Social Security and business structure.  After meeting Mike, and learning about his books, I made it a point to pick one of them up to read and review.  Well, over a year later, I finally made it to the reading and reviewing part.

Since I’m not much of an investor, I thought that it would be a double good idea to pick up the Investing Made Simple title he wrote.  I can review something he’s written, while probably learning a few things along the way.  Investing made Simple is an excellent book.  It’s short, which makes it an easy read, and the writing style is light, without all the technical investing jargon that’s typical to an investing book.

It’s not an in depth book on investing, but it wasn’t intended to be.  What it is intended to be is a short (100 pages or less) book that will give anyone the basics of investing while setting them on the right track to a successful investing portfolio.  I think he accomplished that.

I think one of the things that many beginning investors, including myself, get bogged down in is that the world of investing is a pretty big world.  There’s all these different ways to invest in something.  There’s shorts, longs, calls, margin, options, commodities, ETF, bonds, and the list goes on.  And on.  But, when the beginning investor, who knows little to nothing about investing goes looking for information to get them started, it’s a whole lot of overwhelming.  Piper lays it out simple and easy.  He gives you the meat of what you need to successfully invest for the long term, while quietly informing you that you’ll likely be better off ignoring most of the  stuff that’s confusing you.

What you end up with is a book with all the basics of investing in a small package.  But, you also end up with something that, for most people, is also a complete investing manual.  Keep it simple, and invest wisely is the order that I took away from reading Investing Made Simple.  I think it should be recommended reading for all beginning investors.


Are You A Peter Pan Spender?

Peter Pan bust at DisneyanaEverybody is familiar with the story of Peter Pan, right?  That old tale about the boy who refused to grow up and spent all his time flying around neverland with his friends?

Well, you may not realize it, but you probably know a few Peter Pans yourself.

I Don’t Want to Grow Up!

What makes a Peter Pan spender?  If you think about it, it’s pretty simple really.  A Peter Pan spender is someone who spends like a child.  Always buying the new flashy thingy that catches their eye.  Someone who spends their money with little regard for the future, because, if you stay young forever, you don’t need to retire.  And it goes without saying that a Peter Pan spender doesn’t save for the future.  After all, if you plan on living in neverland all your life, the future is full of pixie dust and pirate tales.

The Fall of Pan

So, where does all that fun an frivolity get you?  Eventually, it gets you from neverland to nowhere.  Sure, you had fun, but what are you going to do when the fun is over?  The hard truth, like a ticking clock in the belly of a crocodile, is that you’ll end up trying to live on social security alone.  Or worse.

Return to Neverland (Recently remodeled and renamed to Sometimeland)

Growing up doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.  It just means you have to have fun with responsibility.  When all the bills are paid and you’ve socked away a bit for the future, have all the fun you want.  Just like Peter Pan finds out, growing up doesn’t mean that all the fun is over.  It just means that the fun changes somewhat.  It’s not all pain and torture, and there are some bright spots that come with the added responsibilities.  Learn how to save and invest for the future and to responsibly pay your debts and the fun will be readily available too.