Money Guide Using a Financial Planner Great Ideas Collection
For investors who desire advice and guidance, Financial Planners are another category of professionals, distinct from brokers, to consult. They advise on analyzing your spending, setting personal budgets and establishing disciplined programs of saving. They also offer guidance on asset allocation strategies and on choosing specific investments.

Here are some tips on choosing a financial planner:
  • Some planners will make investments on your behalf with investment firms (e.g., private money managers, mutual fund companies and/or brokerage firms). These relationships inevitably involve a sharing of fees and commissions, and thus may compromise the independence of the planner's advice. If you want a primary financial advisor who does not have the conflicts of interest that a full-service broker typically has, it is better to deal with a planner who just offers advice and does not invest on your behalf.
  • Look for a planner who has Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification.
  • Expect fees to be based upon an hourly rate for an advice-only relationship with a planner.
  • If the planner invests money on your behalf, they might charge you an asset-based fee, which they split with the investment firms. Alternatively, the investment firms might charge the fees and commissions, and then share them with the planner. In either case, you should understand the fee structures in advance and be prepared to negotiate.

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Topic contents Mark Kolakowski and CliqueFriends, LLC, 2004
Discount Brokers
Full Service Brokers
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