Lesson learned back when I was young and busy working try to support a growing family and figuring out life in general I changed jobs every now and then and would roll my 401K money to a company that sold its own funds. Years later I found said company let me ride what was a 4 star rated fund into the dust and lose a great lot of my invested retirement. Was a very harsh lesson to learn that a company that sells its own branded funds is never going to have an advisor contact you or even tell you when you go in for a visit that the fund is tanking and you should bail.
Never buy from a company that sells its own funds. Always buy from an advisor that sells other people's funds and is willing to get you out when it drifts or starts to fall or gets into trouble. Yes you can get someone who might move you around too often so he can get the commision you have to watch for that. But sticking with something that is clearly a losing proposition is not bright either.
If you are like most working guys with families and demanding jobs you don't have time for this and you need a good advisor. The sooner you find one the better off you will be. Never be shy about asking questions and challening the answers. Thats how you will build a relationship with an advisor.
Start saving for retirement from day one of job one. With any luck you will have a nest egg to keep a roof over your head in your supposed golden years. The american government is out to kill off the middle class no question about that. But the Tea Party, the Republicans and the Dems all have major blind spots. Right now the Supreme court thinks companies are individuals, money is free speech we are on a slippery slope.
We have a congress who wants the president to fail utterly and will do everything they can to prevent him from making any progress even when he tries to implement their own republican ideas. They won't let him build his team after five years he still has not been able to appoint his ambassadors.
We need to make sure no one party controls all three levels of government and the Courts. We are dangersouly close to that happening. The upcoming elections in 2014 are going to be very important for balanced not lopsided thinking and voting.