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How to Choose a Planner

Paying Your Advisor

When you are hiring a CFP® professional, how you will pay for their services is a key question to ask. Different financial advisors may charge differently, or one financial advisor may offer several different ways that clients can choose to pay.

Whether you want ongoing financial planning services or help with a specific issue may determine the fee structure that best suits you. You should ask a CFP® professional to lay out the details for how they charge at the beginning of your engagement.

How a Client Pays an Advisor

Here are some of the common ways you might pay a CFP® professional for their services.

Assets Under Management

In this model, you pay a percentage based on the amount of assets the CFP® professional manages for you. If the professional charges 1% of assets under management annually and she manages $1 million of your assets, then you would pay a fee of $10,000 for the year. 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. Like a video streaming or meal preparation service, you pay a retainer or subscription fee for as long as you feel you need the services of a CFP® professional.

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 a few hundred dollars per hour. This model can make sense if you need specific services, such as drawing up a comprehensive financial plan, versus ongoing help, such as managing an investment portfolio.

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