Jim McElwee: “Before I retired two years ago, one of my plans was to spend my time managing our money rather than handing one or two per cent to a financial planner or institution for the same task. Fortunately, before I could foul things up, I read enough of your stuff to convince me that the same principles (careful allocations and low-cost funds) that had carried me to relative financial security were the very principles I needed in retirement. I’m much more of a bicyclist now and much less of a hands-on-each-day investor. Thanks.”

Nice to hear.

Nothing against the folks who would take 1% or 2% of your assets each year; but what too few people understand is that, in the normal course of things, 1% or 2% of your assets is easily 10% or 20% of your expected return — especially if, as is often the case, that 1% or 2% is not deductible.

What if I told you that for just 1.5% of its value each year, I would advise you (with no guarantees of being right) on whether to sell, hold or refinance your home. On a $200,000 house, that would be a $3,000 annual fee . . . rising as your home appreciated, and then doubling if you bought a second home. Are you rushing for your checkbook to send me the first $3,000? No? Well, it’s pretty much the same thing.


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