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Other Help: Which Planners Add Value; Which Take It Away

Being Shown Investments? The Planning Has Ended.

There are different types of professionals who call themselves financial planners. There are ethical ones; those who charge a fixed sum or hourly rate, produce reports that help decision-making, and utilize their knowledge to reduce tax burdens. Some may even offer some guidance into proper investing, though most will recommend amounts to be put into tax advantaged accounts and leave it to you to decide how to invest such accounts.

Then, there are salespeople who use the "financial planner" title. These "pros" abuse your trust to get all of your financial information. They then  produce reports that coincidentally point to commissionable product solutions. They usually present loaded mutual funds for investment choices. They may mask the obvious hit of front end load funds by recommending back-end load funds that actually do more damage. This type of planner may even state that the fees entailed in these products are simply part of their compensation for the planning process. Make no mistake: people presenting products with sales charges are salespeople.

How Can Help

For the type of planning that addresses investing, gives you unlimited capacity to project assets and earnings under current and hypothetical assumptions. Some planners will allow one or two reruns of your plan for a limited period - and this after paying hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars. lets you plan at will for the rest of your life.

If you are an individual for whom trusts and other tax advantaged accounts may be of value, you should see a planner with expertise in the area. They can help you set up legal structures to save a ton in taxes. But when choosing the institution and investments for the accounts, let help you minimize costs and maximize returns.