Note from the Editor: Client Chris (name changed to protect privacy) and his spouse worked with an Advice-Only advisor for a review to see whether they missed anything. He kindly agreed to share his experience.
We are recent retirees with non-investment income that meets our current and future needs. We’re not reliant on our investments (which are in low-cost index funds). Hence we don’t have a need for running retirement projections or safe withdrawal rates nor for detailed investment asset allocation advice. However, we wanted to have a review to see whether we’re missing anything significant in terms of tax, risk management, estate planning or other financial strategies, because we don’t know what we don’t know.
We wanted to keep our lives fairly simple – so we didn’t need to optimize our financial situation by pursuing every angle. We just wanted to make sure we were not missing anything substantial. We also wanted to integrate our financial planning with broad planning for our kids and grandkids, including gift and inheritance planning.
After checking our blind spots, we wanted an ongoing relationship with the advisor to (1) get advice to adjust our financial strategies as our situation or external circumstances change; and (2) help the survivor of us, and our kids, with financial planning at the time of inheritance.
Harry gave us three candidates in our area. We chose to schedule a meeting with an advisor who is both a CPA and a CFP. When we looked at the financial issues we ended up missing out on due to lack of knowledge in the past, so far they had all had a tax component. So we thought her expertise with taxes would be very helpful to us.
Because the advisor does both tax services and financial planning, she was very busy during the tax season. We waited two months before we were able to meet her after the tax season. But it was totally worth it. She was terrific: smart, experienced and very good about utilizing our time efficiently. We paid $500 for two hours of her time.
This initial review was well worth the cost. To make our time most productive, it was really useful to send her sufficient documentation ahead of time so she could get familiar with our situation, and to have a detailed list of questions. She also brought up areas we had not thought of. We covered a wide range of areas, including review of asset allocation, Roth conversion, best way to use 529 plans for our grandchildren, long-term care and umbrella insurance, identity theft, estate planning and asset protection, and a brief review of our adult children’s financial planning as well. We’ll use her going forward as needed. Now that we’ve met her once and obtained a good feel for her, we may have our future sessions via phone.