Dan Solin's Newsletter, May 25, 2017
In a recent two-week period, I spoke to a group of advisors in Sydney, Australia, attended a meeting in New York City, coached advisors in Montreal, Victoria, Vancouver and participated in a meeting in San Francisco.
I didn’t experience any jet lag. In fact, I never left my office in Florida. I engaged in all these activities using Skype.
As you probably know, Skype is free software that permits you to see and message anyone else using the same program. It’s owned by Microsoft.
Although it’s been around since 2003, it’s still underutilized. Here’s how you can use it to reach your retirement goals.
Investors often tell me they need local advisors and accountants because they want to be able to meet with them “face-to-face.” Skype gives you the opportunity to do so with anyone in the world.
If you live in New York State, you probably should use an accountant located in that state, who has familiarity with state and city tax regulations. If you live in a high-cost part of New York (like New York City), you could consider using an accountant in a lower cost city (like Elmira). An accountant in Elmira has a fraction of the overhead of one in New York City. This difference is likely to be reflected in their hourly rate.
Consider using Skype to interview qualified certified public accountants in one of the lower cost cities. Pocket (and invest) the difference in accounting fees.
You can apply the same strategy to financial planners and advisors. You are no longer constrained by geography. I recently recommended a financial planner located in California to a widow based in New York. I showed her how to use Skype. She is thrilled.
Low-cost investment advisors aren’t for everyone. But you should be aware they exist. Their location shouldn’t be a reason not to consider them. Bason Asset Management is one example. It’s located in Lakeland, Colorado. It charges a flat fee of $4800 annually, regardless of the size of your portfolio. It’s an evidence-based advisor, using low management fee index funds and passively managed funds.
There may be reasons why this firm is not suitable for you, but location should not be one of them.
Here’s the takeaway: Use technology. Fees and costs matter. You can expand your search for competent vendors using Skype and other technology.