Unless you make a point of staying on top of the latest business and investment trends, it’s a good idea to have a professional look over your portfolio every once in a while. (Kind of like bringing in your car for its annual check-up to get it purring again.) Your friendly Wall Street investment firm will organize your finances, allocate your assets, and fine-tune your portfolio as changing circumstances dictate . . . all for a mere $10,000 to $15,000 a year.

While having experts manage your investment portfolio may sound like a fine idea, what you’re paying for in this case (and I mean PAYING) is a dressed-up sales pitch for the company’s in-house products. (Its own mutual funds, bond funds, stock indexes, and so on.) When looking for expert help, it would be better to tap one of the 115,000 independent financial planners in the U.S . . . for a one-time-only consultation. But be careful.

Many of the so-called “fee-based” planners are insurance sellers in disguise. So when making the appointment, be very specific. Say you want to pay for three hours of his time: an hour to look at what you are doing and an hour to talk about it, with another hour devoted to a follow-up memo. Something like that will screen out the creeps. Independent financial planners can be found online at www.garettplanningnetwork.com or www.feeonly.org. Typical fees range from $150 to $300.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.