Clear Financial Advisors, LLC
Rob’s career mission has been to promote credentialed, holistic financial planning awareness among the public.
In addition to his role as an advisor, Rob is an Enrolled Agent (EA) helping clients in tax matters and tax planning. He also holds a Life Insurance Counselor license. Rob has also take post-graduate classes and received certificates in taxation and financial asset management.
Having over a decade of experience with the media, Rob is frequently quoted in the media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, ABC News, CNN Money, Reuters, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Dow Jones Newswires, MarketWatch, National Public Radio, and other publications. He has been published by Forbes, US News & World Report, FiLife (a former IAC / Dow Jones joint venture), Yahoo! Finance, and other outlets, in addition to his own Clear Money Blog.
In addition to his work as a personal financial advisor, Rob is an adjunct instructor of economics, and he has also taught the required courses for candidates to sit for the CFP® examination. He has contributed to the retirement planning knowledge requirements for those seeking international CFP® certification under the Financial Planning Standards Board.
In his free time Rob enjoys listening to non-fiction audiobooks, coaching youth lacrosse, and jogging.
BS, Human Ecology and Family Resource Management, The Ohio State University
MA, Economics, Walsh College
Assets Under Management:
#MI Life Counselor
Robert Schmansky, CFP® Financial Advisor Profile
I'm sympathetic to the idea that home ownership is a risk, but, so is renting. Unless you can easily move every few years, you might have him consider that your landlord would be playing the same 'real estate timing' games that he is, and you'll find many who bought their properties at a low price will be looking to sell as the market rises (meaning you may be moving a lot).
Homeownership provides stability. Yes, there are risks; yes, you have money in an asset that you won't be able to turn into a vacation or food. But, you have stability.
That said... you may not even be in the situation of my hypothetical landlord above if you are buying in at a high. Rental real estate is only a good investment if you have good renters (always a risk) and buy at a very good price.
Not knowing the market in Seattle, if it is like most everywhere else, it is a dangerous time to think about putting your home at risk.
It's always a bad idea to borrow for stock investments. If he is referring to a 4% dividend I would advise researching dividends and stock values in 2008. Most companies slashed their dividend as the price fell.
Just as you would slash rents if home prices fell in another 2008.
I find the idea of finding a good property in a rising rate environment where so many have bid up the prices to new highs to be a difficult idea. If I really wanted to pursue an idea like this I would personally be waiting for the next correction, even if it took 5-10 years. Your buying at a high could take 15-25 years to recover if you can stay above water in the meantime.
If it were me I would set aside the thought of risking your home looking at what the real estate and stock market did over the last few years and role play with a client what would happen if it was 2008, they lost their job, and couldn't afford their rent (or mortgage) and their investment real estate or stocks were now down 50%.
I like your term "advisor-like." I don't believe the term "advisor" is accurate in any way for the online 'automated' service. Advising isn't automated.
They are online trading platforms that do nothing more than similar mutual funds. My question would be if you wanted to invest in one of these services is why not just buy the mutual fund yourself and not pay any fee?
The difference IMHO is the difference between fast food and a personal chef.
You can put your investment dollars into a 'dollar menu' service that is cookie-cutter, has never been through a downturn, and does not know you, your goals, or opportunities.
Or, you can spend more for something that is a better fit that may better align your portfolio to your needs.
Most likely they would not in that case work with your Fidelity account. The financial world is confusing and the basis for advice stems from the legal structure of the firm you are talking to.
I work for a Registered Investment Advisor with no securities licenses, which means I can be compensated for advice, but I can not sell investment products. That removes a third-party that regulates the representatives who sell products.
Fidelity representatives will also be licensed.
Firms can be RIAs and have securities licenses, but typically the brokerage that employees the licensed Registered Representative will still have a say over the advice the advisor gives on the RIA side. Yes, there will not only be an influence but an outright regulation of recommendations.
Of the options here, for most I would choose neither.
Life insurance is better used as insurance than as an investment. If you don't have a permanent insurance need (and most don't) then what you need is low-cost term insurance.
For further thoughts on the problems with a 529 today, see my article here on Investopedia.
For most, I look first at if we are taking advantage of workplace plans. Then, IRA and specifically Roth IRA opportunities. For just about all, this is a better option for saving with the possibility of using for college.
Most also do not consider along with the increasing costs, there is a declining value of traditional colleges and technology possibly changing options in the future. As that happens states will try to prop up the system (by offering free colleges to those who did NOT save to a 529). We see it happening already today in states like New York.
Along with that, you have increasing income that you will be able to use cash flow to assist. And, let's say your income does not increase - is your money today better saved for your retirement and not relying on your children in retirement, or by saving for 15 years for a goal that may not even exist in 15 years due to his choices or lower cost options.
The next 18 years will bring significant changes to college and education. Wrapping up your money in an insurance contract or state-run 529 plan that you have very little control over may not be your best move. These are tools that could have value. I don't work with those though that these are among the first places that I would consider.
This isn't something that can be answered as easily as it may seem online.
How much are you willing to see it decline? What is your time horizon for needing the funds? What else are you invested in an how does this fit with those investments?
Statistically speaking, smaller company and emerging market stocks may give a higher rate of return over the coming decades based on past statistics. They also can decrease the most, especially over shorter-term time horizons. This is not my advice to you since I don't have enough information, but it could give a high return if you have a decade or longer. Then again, it would be best to diversify in case it is a bad decade for those parts of the markets.
I would recommend finding someone to provide a second opinion on your overall financial plan rather than trying to find an answer online.
One of the things I warn people about that tell me they want an investment that guarantees high returns or low-risk is that if you keep looking for snake-oil, you're going to eventually find it (or the salesperson is going to find you!).
Come up with a plan with an advisor to give yourself a philosophy and strategy you can rely on.