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How many of you actually use a portfolio manager or investment advisor

For years I have toyed with getting a portfolio manager. After consulting with a number of friends who use one I found out that I have consistently beat their returns year after year. Understand I am no financial genius but when factoring their fees I have come out way, way ahead by not using one. My experience was the same when I had an investment advisor at Ameriprise (do not consider ever going to them their trading platform is pitiful). Am I the lone ranger here or are your experiences similar. Thanks in advance for your response. Article: Difference Between Financial Planner and Advisor
I never used an investment advisor, I spoke to several when I retired about 6 years ago and I really felt that they were not adding much value.
Most of them used only mutual funds and got a cut on the whole portfolio. I have a large portfolio so they would be making a large chuck of change.
Right now I am physically able to handle my portfolio, perhaps later I may decide to hand it off to someone when I am older, I am only 62.
Performance wise I have been doing really well and I am comfortable with my investments and my risk level
About 40% of my stock portfolio is in mutual funds and the rest  is in individual stocks.
I know where I am invested in at all times unlike my friends who don't have a clue.
No, I don't feel comfortable accessing an advisor. First, I would not care to slavishly follow specific recommendations, however well designed. Second, I gravitate to "fringe" investments, none of which any typical investment advisor would likely recommend. There may be, and probably are, excellent people in that field, but I would expect them to charge more than I would wish to pay. The typical advice is a basket of mutual funds; I don't need that. There is one situation where an advisor would be applicable: where I am dead or incapacitated and my wife, who is totally unaware of investments, would have to manage our accounts. Even then, my CPA daughter is my preferred choice.
As a young retiree (but 9 years in), it's all about expenses. If my ("balanced") portfolio returns something like 7% annually (it has been about that since I retired), and my fund or trading expense is 1% and an adviser fee is another 1%, I've just given away a third of my return. If I'm taking out 4% to live on, that third is 100% of my cost of living increase. So really can not afford an adviser. What I do know is that I have a total annual expense of 0.5% of portfolio - I plan on a return of 6.5% (after that .5% "cut") with a 4% withdrawal and a variable but average 2.5% cost of living increase from the rest of the return.

I have read (and believe) that asset allocation contributes something like 90% or more to your return, whereas any stock or managed fund selection the rest (i.e. not so much). I have about 50% in index funds, and the rest in managed funds. About a half of my managed funds beat their benchmark index and the other half trail, as expected. Not surprisingly, my returns are within a percent of my "personal benchmark" funds on 1/3/5/10 year performance (Fidelity Freedom 2015, a managed fund with expense of .64% and Vanguard Target Retirement 2015, an index fund with expense of .16%). I love investing and my spouse hates it - so, my recommendation to her if I croak is to not get an adviser but rather put everything into those 2 funds (and, she would probably do better than me! :-)).
Right now I manage my investments and I also manage my husband's investments.  Although I am self-employed and my husband just retired to start his own business.  As we get busier we may turn our investments over to a professional.  But first we are going to interview many portfolio managers who share our same values.  There are several questions that are important to ask an investment professional with one being "do you have skin in the game"?  Many PM's don't have any of their assets at risk except for their 401(k)'s where there are limited options for investing.  Another question is how long have they been a PM?  

I want somebody who has been around the block for a long time, someone who has gone through financial crises, recessions and bull/bear markets.  The third question I would ask is, what is your investment philosophy, how do you manage your clients' accounts on a day to day basis?  Some act like day traders while others will sit on a stock way past it's prime.  Fourth, I would ask about the universe of stocks and bonds they have access too.  A PM at a bank wealth management dept can be limited to a stock universe of 50 whiles others have expanded their "approved" lists to 100.  This limitation means they are following large cap stocks only, with a supplement of mutual fund and ETFs for your portfolio.  If PM's at these institutions truly believed in asset allocation their stock universe would be much bigger to include mid cap and small cap stocks.  But usually they don't have the budgets to pay for the extensive research needed and the staff to analyze the data.
I have been investing since 1982. I initially bought mutual funds based on their Morningstar rating or what was recommended to me via Money magazine or whomever I spoke to over the phone at Fidelity [or wherever]. Finally I moved all of my various assets over to Fidelity [instead of about 6-7 different fund families] in 2004. I had become comfortable with their tools and advice thru their website and started picking individual stocks, ETF's, Reit's and the like. Then, it seemed I had hit some magic number, as Fidelity assigned me an advisor .Almost all of his advice was for Mutuals, bonds and annuities and......him/them taking about 1% of my total portfolio - annually- as a fee.


I decided to focus even more and do my own research and while I am certainly no guru, I have a over 9% annualized return, since 1982 [not Including taking out to buy a house and additional property in Hawaii] riding out the lows and using DRIPS. I was fortunate in 2004 in that I saw dividend producing stocks as long term "safer" investments and got into them before many of the current surge did. My breakdown is 50% domestic stock, 15% foreign [mostly oil/energy and commodities], 10% bonds and currently about 25% cash or equivalents [waiting for the correction that will come, eventually]. I am 65 and am currently getting about $2000 a month in my Dividend Growth Portfolio and will be taking full SS next year. I anticipate that between that income and some small real estate holdings, I will be able to get about $5000 a month to live on in retirement. All of this done without an advisor.

I feel that if you use the excellent tools Fidelity provides you and some of the other financial advice websites [I also use Seeking Alpha] that you can make your own investments without paying another for them to do it for you.

I keep 2% in cash 38% in bonds and CDs and 60% in Stocks (individual and ETF).  The Stock portion has a dividend focus which feeds the cash.  The cash is used to pay us a monthly salary.  The CDs will be used to move more money into the market during a down turn, right now I am earning about 4% on these CDs which is reinvested.  The Fidelity tools have been real helpful in finding stocks and ETFs focused on dividends.
I will be able to reduced the withdrawal amount once I start Social Security.  As I reduce the withdrawal amount I will reinvest the dividends. until age 80.  At age 80 I plan to become a Vanguard follower i.e., 50% Vanguard Total US Market, 20% Vanguard Total International Market, 20% Vanguard Total Bond Fund, and 10% Cash.  This simplified approach will work well for my wife because she has no desire to be an active investment manager and i do not want to pay someone 1% for our total investment to try to beat the market.  
As for Required Minimum Distribution I plan to take extra distribution under a certain tax level that will extend the time in which I will have to pay added  taxes under the current tax laws..
I am open to other DYI's opinions on planning for the later years of retirement.
I have a pro managed account and I'm comfortable with the returns but there are times I think it should've did better. I also have my own personal account that I manage. I can't complain about my own returns either. I'm still learning and as time goes by i pick up more and more.  so for the time being I think it's smart to have the professionals manage the bulk of it  and when I learn enough maybe someday I'll manage it all. But it really depends on what level of a trader you are and how much time you can focus on it daily. I still work so I only get enough time to check up on my accounts . They say "A fool and his money are soon parted." So trade wisely and if you're not sure speak to an advisor but always keep an eye on your money no matter what you do. 
I have been investing for nearly 20 years and my thoughts have changed about the use of investment advisors.   Initial I thought no way, now I see the advantages.
I spend a consider amount of time thinking and reading about investing.  For me its interesting and enjoyable.  I don't see it as a chore.  I manage my own investments.   However, I have observed over the years in talking about investing with friends, neighbors, and family or attending investing seminars hosted by sponsors such as Fidelity that few know the investing basics.  I have observed that the level of knowledge possessed by what are frequently called "retail investors" is, in my view, shockingly low.  The knowledge level is somewhat higher in those that attend seminars, but not by much as I would have expected.  These are after all individuals who are motivated to take time off from work or from their evening to attend.
You may be a knowledgeable investor and willing to spend the time to understand the markets.   But my observations are that you are rare.  For most an investment advisor is a good idea.  An advisor such as Fidelity will take a little off the top, but that is the cost of keeping the typical investor's car on the road.
Be careful in your conclusion that your friends have not had returns bettering yours.  One needs to dig deeper then just asking "what was your annual return".  What level of risk was born, what was the volatility, what were the allocations, did they/you hit lucky/unlucky pics, what were current and likely to be future taxes, taxable and tax deferred account balancing   I have found when getting a handle on these and other variables that investment returns are not as high as one is frequently lead to believe.  Without spending a lot of time learning and watching its not that easy to be ones own investment advisor.
When I started out investing I used a financial advisor and paid to have a financial analysis. He was really into educating his clients.  He helped me understand that I was very underinsured to provide for my family in the advent of my death I cashed in my whole life policies and bought term that could better provide the coverage I needed. He helped us set up UGTM's for our daughters education and an investment program for us with monthly automatic withdrawals and IRA's for my wife & me. This advice has served me well and helped me understand the value of dollar cost averaging.
Since then the whole investing universe has changed with more no load mutual funds, discount brokers and ETFs to name a few. I used a broker for a while at a full service investment house and for years he helped us. After some disappointing advice (more on investing logic) in which I made some foolish moves and lost a lot of money, I decided to educate myself more on investing.  I read many of the well known books on investing. Which lead me to think that it was not that difficult (specially now) to manage our portfolio.
I just don't think that a professional manager adds enough, if any,  additional return to justify the expense and as many studies have shown, don't perform as well as the indexes over the long term.

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