Sunday, August 8, 2010

Adventures in Financial Planning

Help!
Image by Dimitri N. via Flickr
I have tried to educate myself about the different facets of my financial life. Reading the advice of many different authors. Each having their various opinions. I would get behind one school of thought to only later switch to another, not really feeling satisfied in their advice. So I thought one day I would go see a professional financial planner. I had a good idea and a basic plan for myself but needed more advice on investing.

It just so happened a group of friends and myself were having lunch. As we were being seated a young man in a suit introduced himself. He said he worked for "Transamerica Financial Services" and if we would sit for a ten minute presentation he would buy are lunch. Never being able to turn down a free meal, we agreed.

He was a nice young man about 25 years old, He explained, trying to drum up some new accounts for his company. His presentation was about 10 minutes. He talked about his company and what he could do for us. He asked us a few questions trying to learn if we needed what he had. He got our names and phone numbers. We felt obligated, being he was paying the tab. Our food came he thanked us and left.
He called the next day to thank each of us and to try to set up a meeting at his office. I took the bait and made an appointment. I was going to see a pro just like I always wanted. Fate and hunger made my wish come true.

Meeting day arrived. The office was in the nicest building in town. It was like when Jed Clampet was going to go see Mr. Drysdale. I thought to myself what am I doing here I'm broke. I was escorted to a waiting area and offered a drink. Soon the young financial advisor found me and took me to a richly appointed conference room. Still thinking boy I got them fooled. The young man brought in his senior accounts manager and we began. They gave me a lot of info always asking questions. No pressure, just a nice interview. I started to feel comfortable and explained my situation. It took about an hour and then it was over. No talk about about a fee yet but I new that would soon come. I made an appointment for two weeks later and left.

Our second meeting was a little bit more easy for me. We met again in the nice conference room. The two suits entered and we began. This time they had a whole lesson to teach me about there way to invest. They said it would be good for me to invest in an IRA, Roth IRA and a cash account. There reasons made a lot of sense. Other lessons were on life insurance and disability insurance. They were spending a lot of time on me. I thought, I'm going to have to pay for their time and expensive office. Then it came, this was it. In such a nice way they told me I would be given a financial plan to reach all my goals. Wow. They also told me to write a check for $200. I thought it would be more. I wanted a professional plan and now I wash getting my wish.

The two weeks waiting for our next appointment went all to slow. But today was the day. When I was seated, in front of me was a beautiful binder with my life's plan in it. It included all the great things I needed to do. It was quite detailed at over 150 pages. After going through it with my account rep. I felt glad I went through all this. Some of the things that were recommended I started to do and some I will do in the future. That was 3 years ago. I still reference it from time to time.

The bottom line of all this is I received alot of education. I wasn't just sold a product. I have a written plan for my future. Now's the hard part, following through. I highly recommend we all should get a plan from a fee based financial planner. I'm glad I did.



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