Why You May Want a Fee Only Financial Planner

by Stephany Kirkpatrick, CFP®

So, you’re thinking about working with a financial planner—maybe you want to help make sure you’re on track for retirement, want to work on your investments, or want to get started on putting a good budget in place. But what type of financial planner should you work with? How much does a financial planner usually cost?

Financial planners usually fall into three categories: fee only financial planners, fee based financial planners, and commission based financial planners.

Commission based financial planners are often agents or brokers who make a commission off of selling financial products, like an insurance policy or mutual fund. Because of that, they may be incentivized to sell a specific product to their clients.

Fee based financial planners are essentially also commission based planners operating under a different name. Fee based financial planners generally charge a fee for their financial advice in addition to earning a commission from the product they are selling.

Fee only financial planners only sell financial advice. They are usually Registered Investment Advisors, meaning they have a fiduciary responsibility to act in their clients’ best interest. Fee only financial planners are also generally not incentivized to sell you a specific product, as they usually do not earn a commission from selling financial products.

Fee only financial planner rates can vary. Some planners may charge a percentage of their client’s assets. These planners will often only work with clients with a high net worth, because their compensation is directly related to the size of their clients’ portfolios. Because they’re incentivized to make their clients more money, these planners tend to focus on investment advice.

Other fee only financial planners may charge an hourly rate, flat fee, or annual retainer. While their advice is likely to be the most holistic, the cost may be high. Many fee only financial planners can often range from $1,000-$3,000 or more annually.

As a fee only financial planner at LearnVest.com, which is a Registered Investment Advisor, I’m able to offer my clients comprehensive financial advice. For some clients, that includes investment advice, like helping to determine their risk tolerance, suggesting which types of accounts to invest in based on their financial goals, and offering asset allocation recommendations. In addition, I also help my clients build a budget that fits their lifestyle, pay off debt, get on track for retirement, and work toward other goals like buying a home or starting a family. And because we believe that real progress happens when you build good money habits over time, as a LearnVest Planner I also offer ongoing support, accountability, educational resources, and step-by-step recommendations to help my clients implement their financial plan and make progress throughout the year.

LearnVest programs range from $89 to $399 for the initial program setup fee, with a monthly subscription of $19 a month. If you’re interested in working with a fee only financial planner like me, you can schedule a free session with a LearnVest Program Expert to learn more.

About Stephany Kirkpatrick, CFP®

Meet some of our other fee only financial planners.

LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc. that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.

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