A widow just shy of her 90th birthday recently asked me to review her investment portfolio. This happens a lot: Much of my practice involves giving second opinions to other financial planners' clients.

This widow had a reason to worry. She had been sold two expensive annuities — just about the last thing a 90-year-old needs — and the rest of her portfolio consisted mostly of risky stock funds and junk bond funds. The planner was making a fortune as the widow's nest egg dwindled.