Ask Terry Questions Difference between financial advisors, money managers, CFPs, etc

Difference between financial advisors, money managers, CFPs, etc

By Terry Savage on June 30, 2018 | Financial Planning / Retirement

Many years ago I had a financial advisor at American Express – he was terrific but when they switched to Ameriprise, I was turned over to a sales person who kept trying to push their products on me. I then switched to a tax advisor who directed me into annuities but then he retired and I’m now finding out the down sides to his advice. I then put my money into Fidelity and managed my own accounts but I don’t have the time or talent to manage my own finances so I moved everything over to JP Morgan Chase.
When my advisor recommended that I withdraw my 10% penalty free money from a non-qualified account, he neglected to take into account that I’m not 59 1/2 so I was dinged several hundred dollars in taxes, much to my surprise.

I’m trying to find someone who can help direct me to manage my money, answer questions about taxes and make sure I’m up to speed on what I need to know as I head into retirement but it seems I need multiple people since no one organization provides all the info in one place.

Can you help me sort through who does what and how I should go about choosing the correct people for my financial management needs?

Thank you!
Mary Kay Eilers

Terry Says

OMG — you’ve created a laundry list of what NOT to do when it comes to believing financial “advisors”. The only thing I can say about your experience is that “good judgement comes from experience — and experience comes from bad judgement!” And you are not alone!

I’m thinking of making a “Terry’s List” of trusted financial advisers in all parts of the country. So many people are in your position. You must ask if the person is a FIDUCIARY — putting your interests ahead of their own, and fully disclosing all fees and compensation. Go to to learn more about fiduciaries.

The word “adviser” is constantly misused — and means nothing! Even if an “adviser” is inside a Chase bank, they are basically a brokerage salesperson, typically working on commissions! (And I’d contact the branch manager — if it wasn’t too long ago — and ask for compensation for the taxes incurred by this absolutely wrong advice.)

But here’s some practical advice — Go to — that is the association of fee only advisers –and make appointments with at least two advisers to discuss your situation. Ask about their fees — and how often you will meet with that advisor (not an assistant). Ask about their “specialties” — though most are well versed in retirement planning (as opposed to just investments, insurance, etc). If that adviser doesn’t ask you about your “estate plan” and your retirement goals you know to move on to the next one on your list!
And make sure each is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

Then choose the person you are most comfortable with — since you are choosing from a list of competent, well-credentialed and FIDUCIARY financial advisers!

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