Help me take ownership over my inheritance.
September 9, 2011 7:22 PM Subscribe
I am a noob when it comes to money matters, and need advice on how to take ownership of my inheritance.
About a decade ago, I received an decently sized inheritance, think around ~$100k. It's gone up and down, paid for a few major items, and is currently hovering around half its initial value.
The only way I interface with this money is through a Merrill Lynch financial advisor. He lives about 8 hours away, and because I despise talking on the phone (and he doesn't do business over e-mail) I rarely am in touch with him. I know right now my money is sitting in a decent performing fund, and it's been sitting there a while. When I initially got it, it'd been in a well performing actively managed fund. This is all I know. The only time I ever really talk with him is when I want to pull out money, which is maybe once a year.
I'm so out of touch that in order to write this post, I had to go into my online account to even see what kind of fees I'm being charged. It looks like I'm only being charged $125 a year, and additionally when money is moved around. Right now, my money is just sitting in one spot, so it's just the $125 a year.
My partner and I also just had a child, so we are thinking more about getting ourselves in better financial shape. We need to start a 529 for him, open Roth IRAs, etc. And I'd like to start actually contributing to my account, rather than just taking money away from it.
My first idea was to just find a Merrill Lynch advisor locally. I assume I can switch up who I deal with. This may help, because I vastly prefer to face-to-face meetings than phone calls. But then I didn't know - do I even really need a financial advisor? And should I stick with Merrill Lynch, or find someone new? If I change from Merrill Lynch, how would I even go about doing that? Is Merrill Lynch like a bank, where I'd have to actively take my money out of it? Or is it like an interface to another entity where I can just switch out to a new interface? Or can I have no middle man at all, and just deal with the fund myself?
When I have something like this, I like to research and know what I'm doing from first principles, but here, I was just given this account, and this advisor attached to it, and I really have no clue how it works. I think that's why I've avoided dealing with it for so long. Thanks for any help you can give, feel free to talk to me like I'm five. I'm completely lost.