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How to Choose a Planner

Choosing a planner is one of the most important financial decisions you will make. This decision takes some research on your part, but partnering with the right financial planner can reduce stress around your finances and help you build a more secure future.

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THE CFP® PROFESSIONAL DIFFERENCE

Why Choose a CFP® Professional

Most people think all financial planners are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Just about anyone can use the title “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled CFP Board’s rigorous requirements can call themselves a CFP® professional. Learn why a CFP® professional provides you confidence today and a more secure tomorrow.

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10 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

Get informed on key issues you’ll want to explore before you decide on a financial advisor. You can ask these questions at your first meeting or send them in advance so your potential financial advisor can be ready to address them when you meet.

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FINANCIAL ADVICE AND PLANNING

Types of Financial Advisor Services

You can hire a CFP® professional to help you address a particular financial need (such as planning for college) or create a holistic financial plan. Learn about the two main types of services a CFP® professional offers: financial advice and financial planning. 

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Types of Financial Advisors

You have many choices when it comes to the type of financial professional you might hire. The different types of advisors serve different functions, so it’s important to know what each one brings to the table. Here are some of the most common types.

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Common fee structures

Paying Your Advisor

When you are hiring a CFP® professional, one of the key questions to ask is how you’ll pay for their services. Different financial professionals may charge differently or may offer several ways that clients can choose to pay. Whether you want ongoing financial planning services or help with a specific issue, this guide can help you determine the fee structure that best suits you.

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Assets Under Management

In this model, you pay a percentage based on the amount of assets the CFP® professional manages for you. Be sure to ask the percentage that is charged and if there is a minimum asset requirement.

Retainer/Subscription Fee

With a monthly or quarterly retainer fee or subscription fee, you pay a certain amount for the services of a CFP® professional on an ongoing basis.  

Commissions

Some CFP® professionals may earn a commission on a transaction. Typically, a commission is compensation for buying or selling a financial asset, such as a stock.

Fixed Fees by Service

Similar to hourly rates, a CFP® professional might charge by the service. For example, a professional might charge a fixed fee to draw up a comprehensive financial plan for you and then charge an asset-under-management fee for ongoing management of your assets.

Hourly Rates

Many CFP® professionals may charge a flat fee by the hour, which may typically be one hundred dollars to a few hundred dollars per hour.

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ETHICAL STANDARDS

Fiduciary Duty: Your Interests Should Come First

When you hire a CFP® professional, you are hiring someone who, as part of their certification, has made a commitment to abide by CFP Board’s ethical standards. Although CFP Board doesn’t guarantee their work, CFP® professionals commit to act as a fiduciary, which means to act in the best interests of the client at all times when providing financial advice and financial planning. Not all financial advisors have made a similar commitment.

 

Erin Voisin
CFP® Professional

Working with a CFP® professional is like working with a personal trainer. We are there to provide guidance and accountability.

Felicia Gopaul
CFP® Professional

“Working with a CFP® professional helps consumers understand the financial decisions they are making so they aren't implementing them in the bubble of their own mind.”

Marguerita Cheng
CFP® Professional

LetsMakeaPlan.org is a valuable resource to help consumers learn more about the financial planning process and the benefits of working with a CFP® professional.”

Find a CFP® Professional

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