Saturday, May 7, 2011

First Visit With a Financial Planner

Last month I took advantage of the library's free session with a financial planner. It was valuable, but did not go exactly as I had planned. I had prepared (of course) in advance an overview of my investments. I thought it was very organized. I arranged all my investments by category (small cap, large cap, etc.) and calculated the % of my portfolio in each. Well when the adviser saw my spreadsheet, his eyes glazed over and he told me it was too hard to understand. He thought I had too many accounts and too many investments. So we spent the whole time talking about how I could consolidate accounts. To me this seems like just an organizational thing, not really something that's going to affect my return. I had hoped we could talk about asset allocation. But we never really got around to that.

I have followed his advice and consolidated some accounts. I combined an old SEP IRA into a rollover IRA. I also rolled over my old 401K into my existing Rollover IRA prior to the meeting. Finally, I moved a small taxable account from one brokerage into the larger taxable account at my other brokerage. I closed a savings account too. As a result, I have 4 fewer accounts than before.

I am contemplating whether I want to pay for some time with this or another adviser.

The one piece of advice that he did give me was that he thought there would be some volatility soon, so I don't feel guilty about having a large cash position. I'll probably invest it on the next dip.

The Great TV Experiment

So I think I've mentioned that I have an old school CRT television. I have lately been thinking about whether I should upgrade and also how I can cut my annoying cable bill, since I basically just watch reruns of a few shows. I decided to buy a Roku box. I just set it up. It is so cute and small and super easy to install. I also installed a wireless router. I love that I can use Roku with my current old TV. I feel guilty getting rid of a TV that works perfectly well for no reason. It's wasteful.
Now I can keep my old TV, but jump into the 21st century w/ Roku. I'm going to get the Netflix on demand and Hulu Plus accounts and see if I can just live off that for TV. If I can, it's bye-bye cable!
I'll still have to pay for an Internet connection, but I'm hoping I can cut the bill down at least in half from about $100 now to $50.