Bulletin
Investor Alert

New York Markets Open in:

×

The RetireMentors

Retirement advice from experts in the business

Dec. 24, 2016, 8:04 a.m. EST

25 things you should be getting from your financial advisor

new
Watchlist Relevance
LEARN MORE

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

By Paul A. Merriman

About Paul

Paul Merriman is committed to educating people of all ages to get the most from their retirement investments. Founder of Merriman Wealth Management, a Seattle-based investment advisory firm, he is the author of numerous books on investing: "Financial Fitness Forever," "Live It Up Without Outliving Your Money," and the new "How To Invest" series, free at his website:  "How To Invest" series: "First Time Investor," "Get Smart or Get Screwed: How to Select the Best and Get the Most from Your Financial Advisor" and "101 Investment Decisions Guaranteed to Change Your Financial Future." In his retirement, Paul writes a weekly column at MarketWatch and continues his weekly podcast, Sound Investing, which was recognized by Money magazine as "the best Money Podcast in 2008". He is president of The Merriman Financial Education Foundation and all profits from the sale of his books are used to advance financial literacy. His recommendations for portfolios of Vanguard funds, Fidelity funds and ETFs, podcasts, articles and books are available at paulmerriman.com. Follow Paul on Twitter @SavvyInvestorPM.

/conga/retirementors/bios/merriman_paul.html 273374
The RetireMentors is powered by

Continued from page 1
Page 1 Page 2

9. Determine how much fixed income your portfolio should include, and the best fixed-income funds. Value: Potentially tens of thousands of dollars from avoiding losses and losing income to underperforming funds.

10. Determine the most efficient way to divide your investments between taxable and tax-deferred accounts. Value: Add as much as 0.75% to your after-tax returns.

11. Regularly rebalance your assets in order to control risk and potentially add 0.35% to your returns.

12. Select low-cost index funds to reduce your expenses. Value: Add 0.45% to 0.82% to your returns.

13. Help you choose among IRAs and 401(k) accounts and Roth or traditional versions.

14. Help you decide when, and whether, to convert IRAs from regular to Roth.

15. Help you maximize your opportunity for 40(k) matching funds. Value: potentially tens of thousands of dollars.

16. Help you select funds within a 401(k) or other employer retirement plan. Value: potentially tens of thousands of dollars.

17. Harvest tax losses when appropriate. Value: Potentially tens of thousands of dollars.

18. Help you with estate planning. Value: Potentially tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of additional benefits to your heirs.

19. Help you decide the best time to start taking Social Security, and if you have a spouse, the best time for both of you. Value: potentially tens of thousands of dollars.

20. Prevent you from making emotional investment mistakes during inevitable market volatility, both on the upside and the downside. Value: Potentially tens of thousands of dollars.

21. Determine the proper times for your overall asset allocation to change.

22. Help you make decisions about charitable giving.

23. Help you make decisions about giving money to your children, grandchildren or others. Value: potentially priceless.

24. Help you with setting aside money for college for children, grandchildren or others. Value: potentially priceless!

25. Help your children get a smart start as investors. Value: Assuming they learn well and follow through, this is definitely priceless.

Reading that list, you of course will be skeptical of all those "potential value" estimates, noting correctly that they are far from precise. However, this article gives a detailed formula for predicting the value of a financial advisor. While it may be more math than you wish to pursue, you can comprehend the formula easily. I think it shows that the estimates above are based on more than just wishful thinking.

Today there are so many competent and well-trained advisors (some call themselves planners) that you can get all these services without paying through the nose. The services I have listed don't include those of Certified Public Accountants and attorneys. However, your advisor should be able to work with such professionals to make sure all the parts of your plan fit together well.

For more on how to choose and get the most from a financial advisor, I suggest you read my free e-book "Get smart or get screwed: How to select the best and get the most from your financial advisor."

Richard Buck contributed to this article.

Page 1 Page 2

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »

Partner Center

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.