Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How to get free financial planning advice

I've given my reasons why I don't like to use financial planners. But if you can get some free financial advice, why not take advantage? By investing enough money with some financial services companies, they'll provide either one-time or ongoing financial planning. I plan to do a series of posts on this topic. I'll start with the mutual fund companies in general, and with American Century Investments in particular. All information is from the company Web site.

American Century Investments

Program Name: Priority Investor

Assets Needed: $500,000

Type of advisor: Dedicated representative that will provide personal guidance

Frequency of advisements: Semiannual

Fee benefits: No account maintenance fees, IRA custodial fees orAmerican Century Brokerage Access account fees. $10 off per trade in an American Century Brokerage account.


One final note on fees. American Century says that it charges a $12.50 semiannual account maintenance fee to investors whose total investments are less than $10,000 for each taxpayer identification number. The fee is waived if the accounts are managed online. Now, if you are investing $500,000 with them, you would obviously qualify, but I want to point out that American Century waives this fee if total investments with them across accounts (one fund per account) are greater than or equal to $10,000. Some mutual fund companies don't look at total combined investments but instead assess fees to each individual account. For example, you could have $28,000 invested with a fund company across 7 accounts, with $4,000 in each account. If that fund company assessed a fee on individual accounts with balances with less than $5,000, fees would be assessed even though the total of all accounts was more than $5,000.