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Ask Carmen: How to find a financial planner

You really think you should put your retirement there?

The new economy means it's normal to have several different jobs throughout our careers, which can mean several different retirement accounts.

Marketplace Money listener, Dawn from Albany, New York, recently turned 50 years young. “I have a 401k and a 403b. The total amount is roughly $200,000. I also have $200,000 in mutual funds and savings. I went to my bank, and they suggested I conslidated all the funds and hire a professional to manage my finances. But the downside is the fee," which is around 2 percent.

Dawn isn’t working full-time right now, as a consultant her salary varies, and she wants to retire in 10 years.

Carmen’s financial prescription: 

Her first move should be to get a fee-based financial planner … get a fee-based financial planner who works hourly ... Make sure you’ve got all your statements. Look online at FPAnet.org. Find fee-based hourly planners. And I’m sure that the financial planner will give you other assignments, as to learning more about how to invest with those assets.”

“Remember that these people work for you. You need to interview them. And background check them. Go to SEC.gov, that’s the site of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Check out their track record. Make sure they have no legal issues. And interview a couple of them.”

Dawn’s in pretty good shape, Carmen says, “all you need now is someone to hold your hand, not take all your money and give you a strategy to get you to where you want to be.”

About the author

Carmen Wong Ulrich is the former host of Marketplace Money, APM’s weekend personal finance program.
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