Why a Fee-Only Financial Planner?

A lot of people mistakenly think that all planners are the same and that all you need is someone to help you invest your money. They believe all planners are qualified professionals who offer unbiased, expert advice. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and it could cost you.

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The Different Types of Financial Planners.

When it comes to financial advice, there are many different options. You could go with a commissioned advisor, a fee-based advisor, or Fee-Only advisor. But which one is right for you? One way to find a good financial planner is to look for one who charges a fee rather than taking a commission from the products they sell. Financial planners who charge fees without taking any product commissions are known as Fee-Only Financial Planners.

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The Pitfalls of Commission-Based Planners

One type of planner you should avoid is the Commission-Based Planner. They get paid by the companies they recommend to their clients, which is a conflict of interest. For example, if a commission-based planner suggests that you invest in a particular mutual fund, annuity, or life insurance policy, they get paid for recommending it.

This typically happens when you get a phone call from a Morgan Stanley or Merrill broker who asks you how you are investing your AbbVie RSUs (Restricted Stock) when you sell them.... see, it's like we know what happens in your office!

This compensation creates an incentive to push some products over others, regardless of whether or not it's the right choice for a client's situation. They're sometimes not required to disclose this conflict of interest, which is why it's so important to find a planner who doesn't get paid in kickbacks.

The Advantages of Fee-Only Planners

1. Independent and Unbiased

2. Licensed Fiduciaries

3. Fee-Only Financial Planner

Independent and Unbiased

Fee-Only Planners, on the other hand, are independent and have minimal bias. We don't work for financial institutions or insurance companies, so we have no incentive to sell you anything. We're not salespeople. We're compensated only by serving our clients, and we have a fiduciary (legal) duty to always put your best interests first.

Fee-Only planners are paid through flat fees (hourly, annually, or per project) or by assets under management fees (AUM). We're against receiving commission and product sales fees from third parties. So you can trust that we have minimal conflicts of interest when making recommendations for your portfolio and helping you plan for retirement.

Additionally, we're licensed fiduciaries.

What is a fiduciary, you ask? It means we have a legal responsibility to always act in our client's best interests. We're held to a higher standard than other types of financial planners, and we're the only type of planner required by law to put our clients' economic interests ahead of our own. A fiduciary must always recommend what's best for you, unlike other types of advisors (who could be tempted to put their own wallets first).

What's more, fiduciaries have more training and experience. Unlike other planners – who can pretty much "put up a shingle" and call themselves an advisor – we have to pass a certification exam to call ourselves financial planners, and we have to stay up-to-date on all the latest economic trends and changes. We're required to take continuing education classes and sign an ethics agreement on a frequent basis.

You can be certain that we'll provide you with the most current financial information and advice. So if you're seeking an independent, unbiased, qualified professional who will put your needs first, then you would be wise to make a Fee-Only Financial Planner your number one choice.

What about Fee-Based Advisors? Are they the same thing?

No! Fee-Based Advisors are different from Fee-Only Financial Planners.

They're a hybrid. Fee-Based advisors still charge fees but also receive commissions on the products they sell from third parties and insurance brokers. This can be harmful to you as a client. As with Commission-Based Planners, Fee-Based may not disclose this conflict and should be avoided if you only want to receive trusted financial advice.

10 Quick Reasons Why You Should Choose a Fee-Only Financial Advisor like Retirement Matters

1. Independence and objectivity: A Fee-Only advisor puts the client's best interests first.
2. Comprehensive advice: Fee-Only advisors are knowledgeable in all areas of personal finance and can help you in all matters from retirement planning, investment, estate planning, reducing debt, and tax strategies.
3. More qualified: Fee-Only advisors often undertake more training and can have more experience than commission-based advisors.
4. Transparency and accountability: Fee-Only advisors are required to disclose all of our fees upfront, so there are no surprises down the road.
5. Investment diversity: Fee-Only advisors may offer more diverse portfolios than commission-based advisors, which leads to better returns.
6. More cost-effective: Commission or fee-based advisors might seem cheaper but incur higher costs for the client because their decisions are based on the products they can sell, not good advice. A Fee-Only advisor is often more affordable in the long run.
7. Tailored advice: Fee-Only advisors don't have to worry about selling products, so we can take the time to tailor advice specifically to each client's individual needs and goals.
8. Greater retirement savings: Those with financial plans are more likely to retire successfully and have twice as much available in their life savings.
9. Less investment risk: When investors make unassisted changes to their strategy, they tend to lose at least 8% of their return. A financial advisor can help you avoid these impulsive choices and expensive errors by taking the emotion out of your finances.
10. Confidence and peace of mind: A trusted Fee-Only financial advisor can help you sleep better at night, knowing that your finances are in good hands. You can feel confident we're making the right decisions to determine your best financial future.

In conclusion, there are many reasons to work with Fee-Only financial advisors like Retirement Matters. Especially as we specialize in working with AbbVie executives like you.

We are independent and objective, have more comprehensive knowledge in all areas of personal finance, and are more cost-effective than other types out there.

If you're looking for a planner who will always act in your best interests, ask for a Fee-Only Planner. For the rest of your life, you'll be glad you did! Chicago Fee-Only specializes in comprehensive Fee-Only financial planning – without commissions or sales fees from brokers or third parties. We're dedicated to growing your savings. Contact us today.