Mike called the Clark Howard show today wondering whether he should use a free financial planner from Vanguard or Fidelity or if he should hire his own fee-only planner.

I told him that I like the Vanguard financial planners that I’ve worked with but I’ve been less than impressed with some of the Fidelity planners I’ve met (I’m sure there are good ones but the ones I met seemed like salespeople.)

But you can hire a fee-only financial planner by the hour, and that might be the answer: Try Garrett Planning Netowork www.garrettplanningnetwork.com. Sheryl Garrett is a Certified Financial Planner whose network gets paid hourly for consultations. I’ve interviewed her in the past (see these stories online at ThinkGlink.com) and was impressed with her writing (she’s written several books).

But there’s no reason why, after a few hours with a planner, that you should then work with a free planner at Vanguard, for example, to implement the plan that the planner laid out for you. You can then go back annually to rebalance your portfolio and check in.

It’s the best of both worlds.

Sept. 5, 2008.