Financial advisor

Can anyone recommend a financial advisor to help with retirement planning? I'm not looking for investment advice at this point. Just trying to make decisions about whether it's a good idea to withdraw (and pay taxes on) money from my retirement IRA to use as a down payment on a house vs. getting a bigger mortgage, tax implications of working past FRA in a few years, etc. I do have savings but probably not enough for companies with "wealth management" in the name.

Also, I forgot about the Politics section and I see that mtierney's thread is still going strong. Can someone bring me up to speed on the last 12,000 posts?

If you decide to seek a financial advisor, look for "fee only."   You may also want to consult an elder care attorney about the "What if's...." 

My own free thoughts - worth what you pay for it.

Over a period of time, earnings on an IRA are more than the interest on a mortgage. On the other hand, going to sleep at night is easier, knowing that there is no worry about if the money to pay the mortgage will be there during the next financial crisis. Such crisis seems to happen every 10 years. So, 9 more years to go.

Have you re-allocated your IRA investments towards more conservative assets?

How do you define "better"?  Mortgage interest rates are historically low right now, and they can be a fixed amount, while investments are much more variable; are you able to take on more risk if you are getting close to retirement given that you have less time to recuperate should the value of your retirement assets decrease in value?  You might think that placing a larger down payment is the right option, but maybe you have enough retirement assets that it is not a concern.  Also exactly what is the right downpayment, and is there a way to find the optimal amount?

This is precisely the type of question which is addressed by a financial planner and not a financial advisor.  The industry is moving in the direction of splitting those two functions with the financial advisor being the up-front person, and the planner doing the technical and back office functions since the task of making these decisions is getting very time consuming and complex.  

The planner can explore with you your question in relationships to the rest of the important factors in your financial life, that is, to place the question in context of other goals and analyze how they respond as they interact with each other.  Is your retirement fully funded?  how much wiggle room do you have?  is your emergency fund sufficient to address an unexpected event  that prevents you from getting the cash flows that you expect and need?  These questions can be explored with what-if scenarios on the planner's computer computer.

The following website will identify certified financial planners nearby:

I just completed a search for a CFP and am happy to talk with you about all I learned, and where I landed. Will send you a PM. Let me know if you'd like to talk.

What does it mean to be "fee only"?  It's a form of compensation.  The CFP Board's describes the term in this video and states its position that the significant distinction is not how the professional is paid but whether or not they are fiduciaries.  CFPs are fiduciaries. so

Fee-only advisors are not the only "good" advisors. It is certainly a consideration but I would not rule out other advisors just on that basis.  You want someone who "clicks" with you and really gets to know you, your situation, goals, etc.  Regardless of how they are compensated, they know that if you are not happy, you can walk.

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