Dear PoP – Financial Planners?

by Prince Of Petworth November 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm 18 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mylar Bono

“Dear PoP,

I was wondering if the PoPisphere can recommend a financial adviser in there area. In particular, I am looking for one that specializes in working with newlyweds/pre-nuptuial couples who have combined earnings within the DC/MD/VA median income range.”

Anyone use a financial planner?

  • PT Varnum

    The closest I can come to a financial planner is the cup holder that contains the change in my truck.

  • Hokie in the Hood

    Pre-nuptuals are done by lawyers as opposed to CFPs and you can probably find something on legalzoom.com you could do yourselves – just have it notorizad and keep it in your fireproof box or safety deposit box.

    A couple words of advice from a financially oriented person. Start with your parents – ask them if they use somebody. If you have someone who knows your family, you could get someone who would normally only deal with folks with a higher net income – they’d do it as a favor. Next – look around for people you went to school with. Trust is number one, but they would also theoretically be in a similiar place in life as you and empathetic.

    One very good piece of advice – find a CFP that charges by the hour as opposed to a percentage of your portfolio every year, and avoid buying funds sold by thier company (they get a commision).

    In general for young couples – MAX OUT YOUR 401K!!!! You can later borrow against it for a downpayment on your first house if you need to and it will be your only opportunity to save tax free. At a minimum, do not leave any company “match” on the table.

    Second – what would your finances look like if the unthinkable happenned to one of you. Think mortgage, school debts, car debts, etc. Buy term life insurance to cover those expenses – think 3-5 times each spouse’s annual income. This can be done pretty cheaply, usually through your job’s benefits package.

    College funds – look to transition daycare costs to college savings accounts as kids start kindergarden. You are used to spending that money, just shift it to savings.

  • bad_e_bad

    well that relationship is on solid footing. Hey honey, I love you, but…

    • Anonymous

      There are plenty of reasons to get a pre-nup (especially if one spouse is a homeowner or has a lot more assets than the other). Asking for a prenup doesn’t mean you don’t trust or love the other person! It’s not like people get married expecting to get divorced a few years later – things just happen.

      For example, if anything were to come between me and my boyfriend/future husband, I would not want to lose my apartment in a divorce, as splitting the proceeds of the sale would essentially wipe out my ability to ever buy property in the DC area again.

      And as long as people keep stigmatizing prenups, people will still get married without bothering to protect their existing assets. I’m no gold digger, but if I ever had to go through a divorce (as both my parents did before they met each other), I would want to walk away without also losing the home I worked so hard to save up for. I have seen too many women lose everything in no-fault divorces to advocate getting married without some sort of legal backup (even if you end up torching the thing when you’re 80).

  • it isn’t clear that the question was for pre-nuptual agreement legal advice, so much as saying they are at the “just about to get married/newlywed” stage of the relationship.

    • ah

      Although they probably need that too, or in addition. If they’re getting married they at least need a new will. Pre-nup is a whole other kettle of fish.

  • David

    I have worked with a financial planner for over 20 years who I trust totally. He used to be based in DC but joined a Schwab outfit up in Baltimore – Marc Hertzberg. I don’t give out recommendations lightly. This guy is great though.

  • Before you chose to do business with an IA (or Broker) check out their record first…



  • Agree

    This is clearly not a question about prenups — this is a question about financial planning for soon-to-be-marrieds. Thanks to the uber-perceptive people who figured out that toughie!

    The best advice I can give you is to go to make (free) appointments with various financial planners and see who you like best. In many respects, it’s like finding a good real estate agent. You want someone who understands your situation and with whom you can have a frank conversation. They might be the best financial guru in the area, but if you can’t relate to them on a good level, why bother?

    – Charles Schwabb
    – T. Rowe Price
    – Fideleity
    – Ameriprise

    Meet with someone from each of those and pick your favorite. It’s that easy.

    Major props for getting started on the right path early in life!

  • Poster Girl

    @POP-Thank you for posting! I know you probably get a lot of people asking you to post questions, so I appreciate the entry.

    @tsmyk-You are correct, in that my use of pre-nuptial was in the context of an unmarried/about to get married couple, not a pre-nuptial agreement.

    @Hokie in the Hood and Anonymous-I greatly appreciate both your insights.

    @David-If you can forward me Marc Hertzberg’s information, that would be great.

  • Poster Girl

    @Agree-It looks like we were posting around the same time, so I just wanted to thank you as well.

  • Greg

    Who were those financial planners that Dennis Hopper recommended before he announced he was broke?

  • AJL

    I’ve used this guy and been happy with him:
    (202) 223-1179
    1150 17TH ST NW SUITE 307
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036

  • Herb

    and on Suze Orman’s facebook page today:

    Suze Orman
    Banks promise a home loan mod & then pull the rug out! So many people misled.. what homeowners can do,

    $28K for a solar roof? Think it’s worth it? Approve or Deny?

    The best and fairest way to join finances after marriage. Saturday night at 9p/12a on CNBC

  • Laura

    I can recommend a friend of mine is a financial planner. He’s helped me out with my own finances, so I can vouch for him in that regard too.

    His name is Jeff Settle:

  • Poster Girl

    @Joe Esq 74, AJL, Herb, and Laura. Thanks for the recs, and have a great weekend.

  • saf

    They didn’t say they wanted a pre-nup. They just aren’t married yet.

  • zt

    OP, sorry I’m a bit late to the conversation, was on vacation. I am an educator with the major national non-profit organization running our financial literacy programs and figured it might be nice to have an extra cautionary. From the unaffiliated perspective, I urge you to be very careful about working with a planner who sell financial projects–since they are basically salesman.

    There are several ways people can be compensated for financial advice. The main three are: paid on commission, paid by the hour, and paid by percentage of portfolio annually. The last one is mostly for rich folks.

    It’s extremely important to know how a planner is being compensated since it changes their incentives. For instance, many planners based in financial firms get commissions for recommending products sold by their firm that are much larger than the compensation they get for recommending the products of other firms. This, of course, biases them towards recommending their own products whether they are the best for you or not.

    I tend to prefer “fee-based” planners. They are paid an hourly rate so that you know their advice is unbiased. This isn’t to say that anyone working on commission or receiving different comp for recommending different products will necessarily put their interests ahead of yours. Many people are able to give good advice even as their personal interest inclines them in other directions but unfortunately it isn’t everyone.


Subscribe to our mailing list