A financial advisor can help you organize your finances to make your life goals a reality, from buying a dream home to starting a business to saving for your children’s college educations. Financial planners can help you set realistic financial goals, plan for retirement, address financial weaknesses and assess financial health by examining assets, liabilities, income, taxes and more. The cost of hiring a financial planner depends on the services you require and how frequently you need to meet.
Complete financial plan
Hiring a financial planner makes sense when you’re going through a major life event like marriage, divorce, having a child or planning the care of an elderly parent. Hiring one is similar to hiring an attorney — it’s important to find an experienced financial planner you can trust, such as Jim Beam Financial Services in Naples, Florida, Carlsen Financial in Sherman Oaks, California, or In Need Solutions in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Fee-only financial planners charge between $1,000 and $2,000 to put together a comprehensive financial plan. For ongoing advice, they usually charge around $200 per month.
Fee-only financial advisors
Fee-only financial planners, such as Camelot Wealth Management in Oldsmar, Florida, provide financial advice for a fee; because they don’t represent a bank or other financial institution, there’s no risk of conflict of interest. They usually charge by the hour, the planning session or the project for financial planning, retirement planning, wealth management, debt help and more. Fees are disclosed upfront, and clients get only what they pay for. On average, fee-based financial advisors cost between $150 and $300 per hour.
Commission-based financial advisors
Commission-based advisors work for an investment company and are paid to to sell their financial products to their clients. They receive a percentage — 0.5 percent to 2 percent — of the amount their clients invest in the investment company’s funds or products. Although these planners may seem more affordable than fee-based advisors, they may not always have their clients’ best interests in mind.
Certifications and licensing
Although there is no federal regulation governing financial planning, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and most states have requirements for people who give investment advice; this applies to most financial planners. To protect your interests, it’s best to work with a certified financial planner (CFP) who has been licensed and is regulated by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.