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Nov 8, 2005 1:50 pm

I'm not a financial advisor, broker, or typical type of person posting  here, but I stumbled on this forum looking for unbiased information.  (stop laughing) Here's my story,  I've been with Merrill Lynch for years.   I divorced 2 years ago, my x and I split assets but we both retained the same advisor.   He happened to be a friend and I think we were some of his first clients.   I was too overwelmed with keeping up with my finances, and just left it to my ML rep to "just do what you think is best to keep in line with my goals"   (Stop laughing!!)  He's not going to screw me, he's my friend, right (STOP LAUGHING!) Anyway, I decided to pull my head out and look around and decided that I'm paying  WAY TOO much in fees.   I'm trying to figure out my options.  I had someone over yesterday from Houston.  His father owns an investment co. he works for his daddy.   He wants my 600k+ and he'll only charge me 1%. ( plus whatever the broker charges for transactions )  I still think that's too damn  much.  So, my real questoin is:  how do I transfer assets to like an ameritrade account,  what would penalties be, does anyone have any creative ideas on how to avoid huge commission fees, costs.  Most of my Mutual Funds are past the penalty timeframe, csds, or whatever it's called.   Most is in MFs and 2 annuities Through John Hancock Venture and MLF Retirement Plus that are approaching the 6 of 7th year, neither have cap gains (got raked on those) 

Anyone want to offer free, no BS, advise or maybe suggest a good book that would help.    Been reading "Unconventional Success, A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment"



Nov 8, 2005 2:32 pm

Let me put it this in a little different context...

Skydiving is not that difficult, right?  With a few hours of instruction, people can learn all they need to know about making a safe jump.  But, beginners are still required to jump with professionals.  Do you know why?...

Because there is a big difference between knowledge and experience.  Beginners have been know to panic when something is unknown, or something unexpected happens.  Alot of times they will get frazzled and put themselves in more danger because they are in unfamiliar territory.

The same holds true for investing.  Hope this helps.

Nov 8, 2005 2:34 pm

For good advice, 1% is appropriate.  Doing it yourself, without the training and market experience may very well cost you much more than the 1% you pay for advice.  The key is finding the good advisor that is worth the fee he/she charges.  I know that I am, but any advisor can say that.  Ask for some perfomance evidence (actual account performance vs. benchmarks) to back up what you are told, and references from other clients.

If you are confident that you can handle all investment decisions yourself, you can apply online with Ameritrade...the process is not complicated and yes, on commissions and fees, you will save a significant amount, but again, it's all about net performance after fees.  If a good advisor can outperform your picks by just 2%, you're still 1% ahead and you can sleep at night knowing that you have professional help.

Nov 8, 2005 2:40 pm


So let me get this straight.. You have been reading a book and now you feel comfortable investing your own account? If you arent getting the treatment you desire at ML, look around. As stated earlier, 1% is a typical fee thats well worth it. If anything, that fee ( coupled with the advice and service of a PROFESSIONAL) would drastically reduce the odds of you blowing yourself up with managing your own accounts.... My advice is for you to realize that you do not have the epxerience, knowledge, and time to manage your won account, and to find a competent advisor and outsource those responsibliites to them.

Nov 8, 2005 2:51 pm

You obviously are not very knowledgeable.  So why in the world are you wanting to do it yourself?  I think it is great to handle your investments yourself if you know what youre doing but you dont.

Are you complaining about 1 %?!  MAybe you are complaing about paying 1% on top of the fees your mutual funds are charging you.  If so, I totally agree. 

Here is another idea.  Ask around to people you know who probably have money. Ask about their advisor.  If they are very happy and have been with them a long time go talk to those advisors.  Find a few to go see and pick the one you feel most comfortable with. 

Remember the market has been flat for five years.  So if you havent averaged 15% a year for the last few years dont blame the broker.   

Nov 8, 2005 3:59 pm

Penny -

It's not worth a professional's time for any less than 1%. If you think that's expensive.....wait till you see what it "costs" you to do it yourself. Ask someone you trust, who there advisor is, and switch.

Nov 8, 2005 4:15 pm

Better yet, Private Message me and I will take care of you…

Nov 8, 2005 5:12 pm

This was just a test to see how long it took for someone in a forum full of salespeople to start hustling penny for her biz...sorry Blarmston.

Nov 8, 2005 6:42 pm

What state you in?
If New England, Florida or Cali I can help so give me a call or PM me.

Strict rules make it challenging for me to provide a solution for you when so little is known about your goals and situation.

Nov 8, 2005 6:44 pm

Also think of 1% vs. 45% loss in 2000. Or a bad investment in KMART, FLYI or others who went bankrupt!

Trump says a financial advisor is essential and I was one of the apprentices.

Nov 8, 2005 7:21 pm

You are effectively asking the local fishermen how to hunt your own fish.

Lacking foresight in even this trivial a circumstance, I highly
descourage you from trying to take on the efficient market hypothesis
by yourself.  It will eat you alive.

Nov 8, 2005 11:26 pm

Thanks for all the good, professional advice.   I would like to leave you all here with a few of my thoughts.   I didn’t have time, nor did I feel inclined, to mention what sort of investments I have been looking into, or what my efforts have been over the YEARS.   For the record, Blowhorn,  Blarmston, whoever you are, I did not “just read a book” and make a split second decision about my finances.  With your unprofessional approach with me, I can just see you standing around the water cooler pumping yourself up by talking about how this stupid chick named Penny and her audacity to want to get a better hold on her personal finances without someone as suave and all-knowing as yourself.    Your advice for me to realize my lack of experience, knowledge, and time, which you know nothing of, now do you,  confirms my suspicions of greedy, commission sucking jocks as yourself. 

I have read several books, publications, journals, the newspaper as well as the huge amount of helpful information on the internet from respected sources, you know, that stuff that you all look at.   I can read too, and by the way, it’s called SPELLCHECK, look into it.   You’ll come across at least a little smarter. 

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I do, however, appreciate the professional advice from the majority of you about the benefits of having professional help and not dismissing me as an idiot for considering investing on my own.   I had not totally decided I was going to go at this on my own, as a matter of fact, it scares me a little.  But after experiencing this forum, I'm thinking if you can do it, (at least from observasions of a few) so can I.    I was just looking for sound advice on what options I may have and of course, my concerns on incurring fees on an asset transfer, which, of course, none of you touched.

Thanks for your time,  


By the way, moneyadvisor, your signature sign off “In the end… it’s all about the bucks..everything else is just talk.”  Holds volumes of incite. 

None of you should waste your time contacting me to get my business.  

Nov 8, 2005 11:42 pm

Penny, you're welcome, but without knowing a whole lot more about what you have and how long you've held it, it's pretty tough to tell you for sure what kind of penalties, transfer fees, etc. you'd be looking at when you leave your current advisor, and whether or not they can be avoided in whole or in part.

...and BTW, I only waste time posting my opinions and other hopefully helpful advice...I solicit business in person...and from folks who appreciate the value of good advice and are willing to pay for it.

Nov 9, 2005 12:00 am


Just the bit of info you gave me on the fees commissions thing is helpful.  Thank YOU.   I hope you don't feel you've wasted your time with me, you are one of the few whose advise I respect.   However, another lesson learned is that I've gotten myself in the wrong place here.   I feel like I'm somewhat of a financial advisor, or wanna be locker room.  

Nov 9, 2005 12:22 am

If any advice was helpful, the time’s not wasted.  The beauty of this free country is…your money=your decision…hope you do well whatever your decision is…it’s been fun watching the sparring…

Nov 9, 2005 12:49 am

"None of you should waste your time contacting me to get my business...."

That plus your comment that you didn't get the information you sought about transfer costs sorta sums it all up.

It's ok for you to come here Penny expecting to get free advice from us...but of course none of us should waste our time contacting you to get your business.

Don't worry Penny, I won't.  I have too many clients who both need and appreciate my wisdom and experience to waste my time with someone like yourself.  Reading a few issues of Money magazine and surfing The Motley Fool don't really compete with with over a decade of full-time experience navigating the financial markets.

So, take your account to ScotTrade or TD Waterhouse.  When you've finally had enough, give me a call.  Then we can sit down and chat and see if you have enough money left to meet my current account minimum. 

If you were so clever about investments, how come it took so so long to figure out what a poor job your current advisor was doing?  hmmmmmm

Nov 9, 2005 3:07 am

[quote=pennypnch]So, my real questoin is:  how do I transfer
assets to like an ameritrade account,  what would penalties be,
does anyone have any creative ideas on how to avoid huge commission
fees, costs.  Most of my Mutual Funds are past the penalty
timeframe, csds, or whatever it’s called.   Most is in MFs
and 2 annuities Through John Hancock Venture and MLF
Retirement Plus that are approaching the 6 of 7th year, neither
have cap gains (got raked on those) 

Anyone want to offer free, no BS, advise or maybe suggest a good book that would help.    Been reading "Unconventional Success, A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment"[/quote]

Penny, are you unhappy with your current financial advisor?  If you are happy with him except for the fees, perhaps you can ask him to lower his fees.  They are often negotiable.   You may want to consider that first.  Quality advice, if you are getting it, is worth paying for.

Most investing books aimed at the masses are full of fluff.  They are pure garbage.  You know that woman who has those managing money shows on PBS (her name eludes me) and writes those books?  Well even she has a financial advisor!  And she says it is worth the fees! 

If you want a good book on investing I'd suggest something at the college level.  A number of colleges have financial planning courses and some even have degree programs in that area.  Find one of those programs and send a professor an email or call him and ask him what he thinks you should read.  Professors are very approachable and will be willing to make some recommendations. 

Also, try a good library in your area.  Most large public libraries have plenty of resources for investors.  Reference librarians will be more than happy to help you find what you need.  Also, Morningstar,, and are a few sites you can check out.  I think has some mutual fund screening tools, too.

I'm not sure about transferring assets to Ameritrade.  I do know that Ameritrade is very powerful.  And it's good.  It's cheap, too.  But it's also easy to make mistakes.  A couple incorrect mouseclicks could cost you thousands.  Generally you'll fill out an asset transfer form and then they'll contact ML.  I don't know what ML's fees are to transfer assets out.  But it's not that much money.  Maybe $50?  Your mutual funds shouldn't be an issue.

Nobody can give you any actual advice without knowing about your situation, your age, your income level, how risk tolerant you are, whether or not you have any dependents, without knowing about possible tax liabilities, etc.  There are too many variables.  It's just not possible.  $600k is a lot of money.  If you don't like ongoing fees, maybe you could find a financial planner that charges by the hour.  It would be a few hours of time, but it could end up saving you many times more and you will still save a lot of money versus the on-going management fees.

If you want the barebones approach, pick an S&P500 index tracking fund (like Vanguard) or ETF and invest in some quality individual bonds (stay out of bond funds).   Of course, as you age you want to get more conservative with your investments and allocate more to quality bonds than equities.

The big investment firms make billions in profit every year.  There are millions of investors who think that it's worth the money they pay for the advice they receive, even if you don't.

Good luck on whatever you choose to do.
Nov 9, 2005 3:59 am

Mr. Joe,

I did not add my request for "no contact" out of arrogance but rather lack of trust, and I want the private IM's to stop.  So it has nothing to do with what you suggest,  that I can waste your time but you can't waste mine.  

 I would have welcomed the opportunity via this route to get some good information, contact information, information requested, but mostly all I got was attitude.  

Also, I took the time to read other posts (by the same yahoos that responded to me as well as others)  and realize that there is a huge lack of respect for clients here, and for some it all boils down to what is best for them(the "professional") and not taking into account their client needs.  You guys call your clients A-holes, stupid, idiots, menepausal hags,etc.  read for yourself.   

This experience for me here has actually turned out to be a further confirmation of the reasons I was seeking advice to begin with.  Everywhere I've turned so far, I get screwed with attitude.  As a matter of fact, my ML rep would NEVER have directed comments, accusations, and all this other sh*t you guys are throwing to me.  I was at least respected as a client.

Moneyadvisor, you put it into prospective, "it's all about the bucks, everything else is just talk" Sort of like, how much money can I make to go buy that giant island and live there all by myself.  Go for it, but not on my dime greedy ones.    

Some "professional" here posts that he is upset that he lost millions from clients choosing to invest in real estate, and added an ill wish to those clients.  I find it unattractive that a "professional financial advisor" can't see beyond his own pocket book and realize that his client's world doesn't revolve around him.   In other words, what I get from this site is that as a "professional finance advisor" you are more concerned about how much money you will make rather than trying to achieve a balance of client needs, your public financial responsibiliby and your own private needs.     It's better to tell your client that you aren't in a position to help them (cause you won't make enough $$ on the deal) than agree to take them on and then f**k with their assets to your benefit.  You know that will come back and bite you. 

I really wish I had not stumbled across this forum.   I am even more apprehensive about hiring a "professional" to help me.   

Pissed penny   signing off.

Nov 9, 2005 9:03 am

Penny…go away. You are obviously one of those pain in the royal ass clients. you will not be happy with any advisor.

Nov 9, 2005 9:26 am


My sign off is the same color as yours pal, at least it was until the queen started calling you "sir". Now if you'll excuse me I've got guests too attent to.

penny ....your an idiot.