See that Morgan Stanley commercial with the three people sitting on a sand dune and one of the men is discussing how by simply shifting some things in a portfolio, he can make the couple's dream of building a home on this site become a reality? It makes a very good point: goals are vital to a financial planner's worth.

You've heard it often enough: There are financial planners and then there are financial planners. In my present position, I have met most of the elite financial planners in this country, whether through the AICPA or the Financial Planning Association. And, I have met many pretenders. The people "at the top," so to speak, know exactly what is involved in rendering such services; those who are not as clued-in tend to simply look at figures. "Tell me how much you have in income, what you've saved, and what your expenses are, and then I'll tell you how set or not set you are for retirement." Talk about missing the boat.

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