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Buttonhole your financial adviser

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

Does your financial adviser see your retirement investments in the same way you do? If he or she doesn't, join the club.

MFS Investment Management surveyed its advisers separately from customers and concluded that there were substantial differences in the way the two groups viewed even the basics of investing.

  • Twenty percent of advisers think a major drop in the stock market is investors' top financial concern; only 5 percent of investors say it is.
  • Seventy-two percent of advisers think U.S. stocks are an excellent or very good place to invest; only 35 percent of investors agree.
  • Sixty percent of advisers think international stocks are an excellent or very good place to invest; only 22 percent of investors agree.
  • Seventy-five percent of advisers perceive that investors have become much more or somewhat more risk tolerant over the past 12 months; only 15 percent of investors report an increase in their willingness to take on more risk.

If you see yourself and your situation in this study, don't hesitate to speak up. If you don't tell your adviser your retirement planning thoughts and desires, he'll never know or understand.

While you are sharing your point of view with your adviser, here are some questions to ask him:

  • How am I doing? Ask your adviser to assess where you stand.
  • What's my timeline? Ask him to project what would happen if you retire at 62, 65 or later.
  • Do I need an adjustment? If you adjust your strategy, save more or both, will you be able to retire earlier and live better?
  • What about Uncle Sam? Are there tax moves that you should make now that will save you a lot of money?
  • Assess my risk. What's the likelihood that you are going to lose more than 10 percent if the market goes into deep decline?
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1 Comment
bob palmieri
March 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Re: File and Suspend - I contacted the SS Admin about a month ago requesting information on the subject and was told "file & suspend" was not available anymore.

What is the best way to approach this matter with SS?