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Is it worth it for me to hire an adviser?

Posted by Cheryl Costa  October 20, 2008 09:17 AM

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I don't know much about finance. My spouse and I only make $80,000. We have no debt but we also have only a small 401(k) and a small savings account. I am concerned that we are not well prepared for retirement but I'm not sure what we should be doing. Is it worth it for us to hire an adviser?

Great question. From your brief description, it seems like you probably don't need anyone to manage your money for you but you could definitely benefit from some professional advice. There are a good number of financial planners that work with people on an hourly or per-project basis. Good places to find these planners include:

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors' website,
The Financial Planning Association's website, and
The Garrett Planning Network website.

When you call someone that you might like to hire, ask them if they do hourly or project-based work. Expect these individuals to charge approximately $100 to $200 per hour. Since you are paying by the hour, you should be as organized as possible. Have all of your statements and documents assembled before the meeting and prepare a list of questions or topics that you would like to cover. Sending your list of questions in advance of the meeting is also a good idea.

If you just want to get an idea of how well prepared you are for retirement, you can check out some of the many retirement calculators that are available on-line. You can also visit the investor centers of many of the national brokerage companies like Fidelity and Schwab.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Local finance professionals share insights and advice on issues such as budgeting, managing debt, and retirement planning.

About the contributors

D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is the founder of, a credit card and gift card marketplace, and, a personal finance site. He has more than 13 years of experience in the personal finance industry, and previously served as senior director at Capital One.

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