Using the Internet to Find a Replacement Advisor

Tim is recently divorced and relocated to California from the Seattle area.  He’s 59 and is getting ready to retire in the next five years. He has accumulated quite a bit of money in his 401k and company stock options, but he’s not sure it’s enough to retire on for the next 30+ years.  He worries if his money is going to last once he retires.

Tim was working with a financial advisor for several years who helped him with his 401K allocations, as well as money outside of his 401K. The advisor was a referral from a friend. The advisor was very personable and they struck up a friendship. Tim was very trusting of the advisor due to the friendship, however, he never asked the advisor about the advisor’s and/or investment costs and potential conflicts of interest. He assumed the advisor would put him into the best products for his needs.

Because Tim was so busy, he didn’t pay much attention to what was happening with his portfolio until the market started to downturn. He quickly realized that his 401K allocations were not correct, and the other assets the advisor was overseeing were performing very poorly. Tim did some research and realized the advisor had allocated too much risk for his 401K, and the assets outside of the 401K were in expensive mutual funds that were underperforming, and the advisor was receiving a heavy commission.

Tim started researching on the internet how advisors are compensated and fiduciary rules and determined his current advisor did not meet fiduciary standards. His advisor was putting his assets into funds to receive commissions. Now Tim wants to hire a fee-only advisor who is also a fiduciary. He is using the internet as a starting point for his search.

As he nears retirement, he wonders if he has enough money to retire or if he needs to work longer to compensate for the losses incurred due to the poor financial advice from his previous advisor.

He’s looking for a professional who will be honest with him and help him re-adjust his financial plan so that he doesn’t have to work until he’s 75.

Pain Points

  • He wants to retire in the next five years, if possible.
  • He is skeptical about hiring a financial advisor after his negative experience but realizes he doesn’t have the time to dedicate to managing his own investments.
  • What criteria should he use to find the best fee-only financial advisor on the internet?
  • He wants an analysis of his 401K allocations to ensure they are on track to meet his retirement timeline.
  • Will he have enough money for the next 30+ years?
  • When should he start taking Social Security?