Andrew Mohrmann, my financial advisor, and I meet several times a year and always once before the end of the year so that we can make tax decisions for 2018 and, more importantly, do tax planning for 2019.
Today, December 12th, we had a great phone conversation for 2 hours and addressed a whole lot of stuff. I realize that few people will enjoy talking to their financial advisor for 2 hours, but I’ve been working with Andrew for 4 years now and we have built a good relationship.
My financial advisor
Andrew worked for a company before starting his own firm and he has experimented with various payment models before settling on a retainer model.
His firm has been successful and he’s brought on an associate and in the process of bringing on a third person. This is exciting, I like seeing good people do well.
Finding a financial advisor
I found him initially through the XY Planning Network, after 4 failed financial advisors before him.
Our financial relationship is simple, I pay him an ongoing monthly fee and he offers me financial advice. Everything from tax planning, investing, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance advising, and he keeps me abreast of relevant market news.
His financial model
The retainer model is great because I won’t have to tolerate being sold to. We agreed on a price and that’s what I pay every month.
What I love most about Andrew is that he’s accessible – a phone call or email away. I can run anything by him. He knows about my medical board investigations, job terminations, business ventures, asset allocation, my income, and my spending.
I also appreciate Andrew because he gives me expert financial advice as a CFP without trying to force anything down my throat. This is the way I work with my patients – it resonates well with me.
I’m not an easy client because I have some unique ways of doing things and my situation changes constantly. He’s managed to keep up and has seen me go from a workaholic full-time W2 employee at Kaiser Permanente to a partner at KP with a pension, to a per diem, to a sole proprietor, and now to an unemployed bum with a massive net worth and no debt.
He recently brought on an associate who is a CFP, CFA, and CPA. Fuck. That’s like being a family medicine doctor, orthopedic surgeon, and interventional radiologist.
He is also courting a new associate who has some solid CPA experience and she will likely pursue her CFP degree on top of that.
I haven’t had a chance to connect with these 2 new individuals but I’m sure I’ll be chatting with them soon.
End-of-year meeting – 2018
Our meeting today was rather long but we discussed some good stuff. We finished everything in the first 45 minutes, but nerded out on a few interesting financial topics.
You can’t tax-plan for 2018 at the end of 2018, it’s too late by then – we did all that at the end of 2017. Instead, we talked a little about about 2019 and my anticipated income and which country I was going to live in.
Tax planning aside, we did some tax strategizing for 2018 before I file my taxes at the end of this month. We looked at the new tax brackets and discussed how best to optimize my filing.
Our meetings are done online and he does screen sharing so I can get a visual sense of everything.
I have the option of a Roth IRA or traditional IRA and a solo 401k. I’ve discussed these many times in various posts.
After talking to Andrew, I have a good idea whether I’ll max out my retirement accounts this year or keep the money aside to fight the medical boards.
Emerging markets have been down and so this is a good opportunity for me to contribute more towards those funds in order to maintain my asset allocation.
We both felt that I have adequate funds for retirement, so I don’t need to keep investing my excess income, but it wouldn’t hurt to do it since I otherwise spend that money on beer.
I forgot to tell him that I updated my condo insurance but he reads my blog posts so, Andrew, I now have much better coverage for my condo as we discussed in our emails. Cheers.
We discussed health insurance. I have health insurance in Spain but not in the US and I’m not sure I’ll be staying in the US long-term so we discussed my options.
I don’t need life insurance, nor disability insurance. We have discussed an umbrella policy in the past and I’m going to pursue that first quarter of 2019.
Cost of a financial advisor
I’ve been paying Andrew money every month for his services for the past 4 years. I’m not paying him because I’m desperate for advice during a bull market. Everyone does well during a bull market.
I want Andrew by my side when I have to make the big decisions. Such as when I got divorced. When I needed to cash out some of my investments to buy my condo. When I first started dealing with the medical board investigations. And when I decided to move to Spain – the first time and the second time.
Most importantly, I need Andrew when shit hits the fan. When my retirement account tanks or the global markets make a totally unpredictable shift.
If I don’t have a solid relationship in place with a competent financial advisor, if he doesn’t know what I’m all about and what’s important to me, then he’ll never be able to help me make the right decisions.
I don’t want generic advice. I could give a fuck about the 4% rule or that stock index funds supposedly appreciate by 6% a year. All that shit goes out the door when you see your investments drop by 50% or you get sued or your wife leaves you for your uncle.