DEAR BRUCE: When we retired 12 years ago in Florida, we went to the local bank to deposit some cash we had at that time. While there, we were introduced to a senior vice president who offered to be our financial adviser and to manage our 401(k).
We relocated all amounts from previous jobs to that bank and live comfortably. Once a year, the bank sends the required minimum distribution to our checking account. We use part of this to travel abroad, repair cars, maintain the home and buy gifts for grandchildren.
Life has been good to us, considering we were born in the former Soviet Union.
We understand that we are supposed to pay for the service to manage our money in mutual funds that our financial adviser selects at our twice-yearly meetings. We have never discussed that amount, and we were taking for granted a necessity to pay.
All went smoothly until our younger nephew came to visit. He discovered that we are paying an unreasonable amount, in his opinion, to the service and suggested relocating all our money into an index fund where charges are almost nonexistent (again, according to him).
We are at a loss. We can't manage our money without help from an adviser, and we understand that asking him to put our 401(k) into an index fund is actually firing him. Is it worthwhile to jeopardize our good relations with him to gain some possible money?
We are both 75 and can live as well as we do now with our money invested in the mutual funds. -- V.B., Florida
DEAR V.B.: It seems to me that you're happy, living well and satisfied with the advice given to you over 12 years by the bank officer. However, here comes your nephew, who suddenly says you're paying an unreasonable amount and the products are not appropriate.
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