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Why is Fee-OnlyTM Important?

When founding our firm, we decided that being Fee-OnlyTM was the most objective method of delivering financial advice to families facing change. Even though this move was somewhat groundbreaking and less profitable, we believed that the marketplace would reward firms who hold the client's best interest at heart. This prediction has turned out to be true, as we are now seeing traditional commission-based brokerage organizations holding themselves out as "Advisors" or "Planners". This distinction is important because commission-based brokerages receive commissions and other forms of compensation that are not disclosed to the client. As a result, it is increasingly more difficult for consumers to find advisors who are truly providing objective advice.

What does Fee-OnlyTM mean?
  • It means that we sell advice not products.
  • It means that we are not compensated for investment transactions.
  • It means that we don't receive commissions, rebates or other types of soft-money of any kind in our "Fee Only" engagements.
  • It means that you know exactly how much we charge for advice before we collect. Why you should look for a Fee-OnlyTM Advisor:
    • A Fee-OnlyTM advisor focuses on your goals and not the need to sell a product or a product's performance.
    • Trust is more easily established when the relationship is open and free from conflict of interest.
    • Fees are fully disclosed and easy to understand.
    • The financial interests of the advisor and client are aligned. As your portfolio increases in value, so does the compensation of the Fee-OnlyTM advisor.
    • Your advisor can bundle services into the fee, which is difficult to do in a pay-per-transaction relationship.
    • Your advisor has the freedom to make recommendations without raising suspicion of churning or acting in other manners of self-interest.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Advisor Most people agree that the following FIVE C's are fundamental factors to consider when choosing a financial advisor:
    • Competency: As evidenced by educational background, experience, and credentials.
    • Comprehensive Continuing Education: The standard in the industry is set by NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. NAPFA requires 60 hours for every two-year period with strict distribution requirements across the various topic areas of financial planning.
    • Compliance: Is the advisor in compliance with the law, both now and also in the past?
    • Conflict-free compensation: Has the advisor minimized potential conflicts of interest to the extent possible, e.g. by operating on a completely Fee-OnlyTM basis, by declining business relationships or employment situations that affect objectivity, and by thoroughly disclosing potential conflicts of interest?
    • Chemistry: Do you feel comfortable with and trust the advisor?
    Source: The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (www.napfa.org)
Fee-OnlyTM is a registered trademark of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.
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