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    Is a Full-Service Broker for You?

    Full-service firms take pride in their ability to provide "full service" for all your financial needs. Besides helping you build an investment portfolio, most firms offer you the chance to meet with a planner to review your complete financial situation. Full-service firms can provide help or referrals to accountants and lawyers to deal with some of the more complicated components of personal finance.

    For instance, you can get help with estate planning issues and how to make sure your heirs are taken care of in the manner you desire after you pass away. Your full-service firm can help you decide if you need to set up some sort of trust, or some other strategy to manage your estate. If you need assistance setting up your will, the firm can refer you to a lawyer, and even work with you to make sure your will covers all the right financial concerns. If you'd like to minimize your tax liabilities, your broker can offer you an array of municipal or government bonds for your portfolio.

    If you decide that you just don't have the time to manage your own portfolio, you can give your broker the power to take over your accounts for you. Then, he or she will be able to make sales and purchases on your behalf without getting your approval each time. If you travel abroad frequently, for instance, it might be a good idea to give your broker the ability to move quickly if something changes drastically with an investment you own, without making him or her track you On top of all that, a full-service broker has the research of his firm's analysts at his fingertips. Your broker can give you the best picks of the firm, or their own ideas about which stocks might be good for your portfolio. The bottom line is that full-service brokers should emphasize service. If you think these services are helpful, then you might want to consider working with a full-service broker.