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The Cost of Working with a Financial Adviser


Percentage of Assets Under Management (AUM)

According to certified financial planner Taylor Jesse at Impact Financial, the AUM model is the most common way that advisers charge their clients and has been the standard for many years. Under this model, the adviser charges a percentage of the assets you have under their management.

Typically, the AUM model requires a 1% fee. By regulation, advisers are prohibited from charging more than 2%. However, in reality, it is rare to find an adviser charging anywhere near 2%. For instance, an adviser for someone with $1 million in assets would usually require a fee of $10,000 annually.

Fees Can Decrease the More You Invest

Interestingly, many advisers charge lower percentages as a client’s investable assets increase. It is common for advisory firms to have tiered fee structures where fees decrease as assets increase.

According to certified financial planner Eric Presogna at One Up Financial, “Once our fixed costs are taken care of it becomes cheaper and cheaper to provide financial planning and investment management.” Therefore, it makes sense for advisers to offer discounts for larger asset levels.

If you are looking for a financial adviser, there are many options available to match your specific needs.

# Adviser Pricing Models: A Comparison

Asset Minimums: What to Expect

Advisers who work under the assets under management (AUM) model require clients to have a certain amount of investable assets before they will work with them. This can mean an adviser requires you to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets before taking you on as a client. While this can make AUM less profitable for smaller clients, advisers do this to make a profit themselves.

Flat-Fee Model: Charging for Financial Planning

On the other hand, financial advisers who work under a flat-fee model charge a rate irrespective of how much money you have. They typically bill quarterly in arrears for services related to financial planning and do not take assets under management into account.

Lauren Lindsay, a certified financial planner at Beacon Financial Planning, charges a flat fee for clients who have less than the required asset minimums, or for individuals who only want advice, but not someone to manage their investments.

Advice-Only Model: A Cost-Effective Option

Working with a flat-fee financial adviser is a great option if you don’t meet certain asset minimums or are looking for advice but don’t want someone to manage your investments. Flat fee advisers offer different plans and pricing – some use an advice-only model where they provide assistance during execution but do not take custody of assets. Others may put a cap on their fees instead of charging a percentage of assets.

According to David Barfield, another certified financial planner at Datapoint Financial Planning, the cap on flat-fee advising depends on the scope of work, but such models are unlikely to cost clients more than $10,000.

# How Much Do Financial Advisers Cost?

If you’re considering hiring a financial adviser, you’re likely wondering how much they charge for their services. The truth is, there are a variety of fee structures available depending on your adviser’s experience and the level of complexity in your case.

Flat Fee Pricing

For a flat fee, typically ranging between $2,500 and $10,000, your adviser will build, monitor, and update your financial plan while also providing tax planning, estate planning, and insurance advice. This option is ideal if you’re looking for ongoing financial guidance.

Modular Pricing

For a one-time comprehensive review, expect to pay between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the level of complexity in your case. This option is great if you’re looking for a detailed financial plan that you can implement on your own.

Hourly Fees

If you’re looking to address specific financial questions or create a financial plan, an hourly fee structure may be more appropriate. Expect to pay between $150 and $300 per hour, depending on your adviser’s location, experience, and scope of work. This option is ideal if you only need occasional financial advice or guidance.

In conclusion, it’s essential to understand the different fee structures available before choosing a financial adviser. Consider your specific needs and budget to find the right adviser for you.

Finding a Financial Adviser That Fits Your Needs

If you’re in search of a financial adviser who provides hourly planning services, you may feel like it’s difficult to find one. Many advisers feel pressure to perform in a restrictive time period, making it a challenging task. However, there are resources available which can make finding an hourly-planning financial adviser an easier process. Consider checking out a platform like the Garrett Planning Network.

Advice-Only Financial Advisers

Advice-only financial planners locate solutions for financial problems without managing your investments. They’re paid only for their time and expertise: “You can enlist an advice-only professional either hourly or on a retainer basis, and they can provide both a second set of eyes and comprehensive financial planning,” according to advice-only, fee-only financial planner Jay Zigmont of Childfree Wealth.

Monthly Subscription-Based Fees

Financial advisers who charge annual or monthly subscription-based fees tend to be an effective alternative to hourly fees. According to certified financial planner David Barfield at Datapoint Financial Planning, “fees could start as low as $100 a month, with the typical client anticipating to pay something in the range of $250 to $500 each month, depending on the complexity.” However, most will also charge some sort of upfront planning fee or onboarding fee given the concentration of work in the early stages of the partnership.

With this particular subscription plan, customers receive ongoing management, typically of smaller accounts, without asset management.

Financial Advisers: Rethinking Charges

The traditional way of charging fees for financial advisers is based on assets under management (AUM). However, some advisers have started to charge a percentage of clients’ income instead. According to financial adviser Michael Kitces, this approach can be more straightforward, especially for high earners. Kitces suggests that a graduated fee schedule can be applied to this method as well, making it more economically feasible to service even median-income households.

On the other hand, commission-based advisers earn a commission for the products they recommend, such as life insurance or mutual funds. This compensation structure creates a potential bias in advice since advisers may promote products that pay them more money, which is not always in the client’s best interest.

When choosing a financial adviser, it’s essential to consider various factors such as their experience, qualifications, areas of expertise, and compensation structure. While AUM and commission-based models have been dominant in the past, there are newer options to explore. Ultimately, finding an adviser who aligns with your financial goals and values should be the top priority.

Choosing the Right Financial Advisor

In a volatile market, investors need a financial advisor to help them stay the course and avoid making rash decisions that could damage their portfolios. Investment analysis, tax optimization and emergency savings are just a few areas that a financial advisor can assist with, according to Bryan Stiger, a certified financial planner at Betterment.

But how do you choose the right investment advisor for your needs? First, it’s important to decide what type of relationship you’re looking for. Would you prefer ongoing access to a financial advisor, or are you seeking point-in-time guidance? Are you comfortable meeting remotely, or do you prefer face-to-face interactions?

Other factors to consider include how much you’re investing, your budget and your risk tolerance. If you’re just looking for guidance and answers to big financial questions like “Can I retire next year?” then a one-time financial plan may be the best option. This typically costs between $1,000 and $3,000 and can provide you with a financial roadmap for the future.

Ultimately, choosing the right investment advisor is essential to your financial success. With careful consideration and the right advice, you can achieve your goals and protect your portfolio even in turbulent times.

Choosing the Right Financial Adviser

When it comes to managing your money, working with a financial adviser can be a smart choice. But with so many options out there, how do you choose the right one? Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Consider Fee Structures

Before you start working with a financial adviser, it’s important to understand their fee structure. While some advisers charge over $10,000 per year for full service engagement, most people only require a financial plan, investment help, and a few check-ins throughout the year. This kind of service typically costs anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 per year. Make sure to ask for a breakdown of an adviser’s fee structure, as many charge separately for financial planning and investment management.

Interview Financial Advisers

To get a sense of the different types of working relationships that exist, it’s recommended to interview 2 to 3 financial advisers before making your decision. It’s important to ask what their ideal client is and how they work with someone like you. Be sure to compare proposals and costs to see what fits best for your unique financial situation.

How to Choose a Financial Advisor

If you’re looking for a financial advisor, it’s important to conduct a thorough search and vet potential candidates. David Maurice, a certified financial planner at Worthwhile Wealth Council recommends asking questions like: What does it mean to be a fiduciary? Do you sell any financial or investment products like annuities or insurance for which you earn commissions? Do you work outside of your geographic location? Is there any type of clientele you specialize in? Is your firm a registered investment adviser through the SEC or state regulators? What makes you different from other investment advisory firms?

During the interview process, it’s also important to consider factors such as the advisor’s expertise, communication style, and whether or not the relationship feels like a good match. Don’t limit your search to large investment firms – make sure you also interview smaller firms and fee-only advisers.

Confirm the Advisor’s Credentials

Where to Find a Financial Advisor

Aside from referrals from friends, family, or coworkers, there are many free online databases that allow you to search for financial planners by location, specialty, and fee structure. Some top recommendations from experts include:

  • NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors)
  • CFP Board (Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards)
  • FPA (Financial Planning Association)

Take the time to conduct a thorough search and interview process to find an advisor that meets your unique needs and preferences.

Find Your Perfect Financial Adviser

Are you tired of blindly searching for a financial adviser? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the top organizations that can help you find the perfect adviser for your unique needs.


The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Find-An-Advisor tool is a great resource for those who want a fee-only financial planner. Simply enter your zip code and NAPFA will connect you with qualified advisers in your area.

XY Planning Network

Garrett Planning Network

The Garrett Planning Network is a nationwide network of fee-only financial advisers who are dedicated to helping individuals and families. With a focus on holistic financial planning, their advisers can help you achieve your financial goals.

CFP Board: Let’s Make a Plan

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards offers a directory of CFP® professionals who have been vetted and certified by the Board. Use their “Let’s Make a Plan” tool to search for a CFP® professional in your area.

Fee-Only Network

The Fee-Only Network is another great resource for those seeking fee-only advisers. Their directory includes advisers who are committed to acting in their clients’ best interests.

Don’t waste any more time searching for a financial adviser on your own. Let these organizations help you find the right fit for your financial planning needs.

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