Steve’s Investment Workshop Participant Comments

Steve’s Investment Workshop Participant Comments

 Personal Finance Investing Workshop

Monday, March 14, 2016, Mizell Senior Center

Palm Springs, California

35 people showed up to hear my presentation that Dan and I have given for the last 3.5 years. In this workshop, all of the participants were retired and members of Mizell Senior Center. The following information is their evaluation of my presentation. People are genuinely interested in finding a financial adviser that looks out for their best interests, and found my insights on how to find and evaluate advisers desirable. Thanks to Dan Otter, my friend and website owner and operator of for the excellent questions for a financial adviser (in the handout section at the end of this blog).

Your feedback is important.  It will be used to guide future workshops.

  1. Did this workshop meet your expectations? Why or why not?

  • Very well prepared.
  • Yes, it was a great introduction to the subject.
  • Yes, informative.
  • Yes, lots of good information.
  • I have my own investments.
  • Yes, it was a big help.
  • Lots of reconfirmation…and somebody I want to read.
  • No, I did not know what to expect.
  1. What was the MOST important activity or information provided?

  • The total overview and personal experience—not easy to share this.
  • Introduction to investing.
  • All very important, thank you.
  • Your personal graph how long term of your investments and all of your hand-outs.
  • Long-term results stress on simplicity.
  • Breaking down stocks by value.
  • Your book.
  • All of it was good as far as I am concerned.
  • Wonderful speaker.
  • Questions for financial advisor—I may go that route.
  • Do not know what is most important’
  1. What was the LEAST important activity or information provided?

  • Too long.
  • All of your information great.
  • All good.
  • All good.
  • Do not know what is least important.
  1. What material and topics should be covered in future investment workshops?

  • Real Estate.
  • Better visuals.
  • How to find financial adviser, or where to start searching.
  • Definition of words for beginners.
  • Buying and selling stocks yourself with transfer agents/company. More about different bonds.
  • Bonds would be of interest.

Compare the responses to previous investment workshop evaluations at United Teachers Los Angles (UTLA)


The 403(b)wise Advisor Questionnaire (
Each advisor you are considering should be asked the following questions.

1.   What is your educational background?

2.   What is your CRD (Central Registration Depository) number?

3.   What financial credentials do you hold?

4.   What is your financial planning education?

5.   How did you become a financial advisor?

6.   How long have you been offering financial services?

7.   What state and/or national oversight agencies are you registered with?

8.   How many hours of continuing education do you take each year?

9.   How many clients do you currently serve?

10.                     Will I work directly with you?

11.                     How do you educate your clients about the investment process and their specific portfolio?

12.                     Explain how you will diversify my portfolio.

13.                     What is your investment philosophy?

14.                     Please detail all fees or commission involved, including all costs of mutual funds or variable annuity sub-accounts.

15.                     How will my plan be implemented?

16.                     How often will we meet?

17.                     Please include any fees related to closing an account (i.e. surrender or back-end charges.)

18.                     Please provide me with a written agreement that details services that will be provided.

19.                     Please provide in writing your pledge to act as fiduciary on my behalf.

20.                     How are you compensated?


Personal Finance Presentation “Take Home” Basics (03/14/2016)

By Steve Schullo and his late hubby, Dan Robertson, authors of “Late Bloomer Millionaires” (2013)

  1. Evaluate or find a fiduciary financial advisor: How much you are paying for financial management?
  2. Invest in energy efficiency: Click here for our Article published in Huffington Post.
  3. Create a plan for building or living off your nest egg:
    • Low-cost total fees should be under .75% (Vanguard charges me .13%).
    • Diversify across U.S. and International stock markets
    • Include bonds, a percentage approximately equal to your age (7.3% average Return).
    • Reduce investment volatility by investing in the whole market.

Examples of investing in the entire Stock and Bond Market (All Vanguard Funds)

1. (VT) Total World Index   All U.S. and International Stocks         Cost:  .18%

2. (VBTLX) Total Bond Market  GNMA, Treasuries, Corporate      Cost:  .08%

3. (VTI) U.S. Domestic Stocks  Total Stock Market ETF                   Cost:  .05%

4. (VXUS)  International Stocks   Total International Stock Mrk ETF      Cost:  .14%

5.  (VBTLX)  Bonds   Total Bond Market Index                    Cost:  .08%

“Cookie-Cutter” Built-in Balanced Plans

  • (VWENX) Vanguard Wellington: 65% stocks/35% bonds, cost: .54% (under 50 years old)
  •       (VWIAX)  Vanguard Wellesley:     35% stocks/65% bonds, cost: .55%  (over 50 years old)

A fiduciary financial advisor will sign an agreement to put your financial interests ahead of his/her own. Fiduciaries are paid by the hour. How can you find one?

  1. National Association of Personal Financial Advisers (NAPFA):
  1. Garrett Planning Network:


Helpful Websites (Steve’s Favorites) 

Bogleheads Investment Forum: Over 42,000 registered members, 138,000 topics, very active discussions. Ask any question!

Dan Otters Website for K-12 Teachers:

Steve’s Blog: The basics.

White Coat Investor:

Mr. Money Mustache:

Books (all on Amazon)

  1. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle (Read any of John Bogle’s books on Index Investing).
  2. Late Bloomer Millionaires by Steve Schullo and Dan Robertson (2013, 88 reviews on Amazon). It’s in all of the Coachella Valley Public Libraries, including Palm Springs.
  3. Millionaire Next Door by Tom Stanley and Bill Danko.
  4. Teach and Retire Rich by Dan Otter.

Free eBooks

  1. For Steve’s new FREE ebook, “Fighting Powerful Interests” here on My Blog at
  2. Financial Author Paul Merriam FREE eBook: Get Smart or Get Screwed. How to select the best and get the most from your financial adviser.

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