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Fee only Financial Planning
the pros and cons for your financial future

Fee only financial planning, has some variations in appearance in which fees are charged and this comes with both benefits and disadvantages for your financial future.  Let's see some of these:

Fee only financial planning based on a percentage of your holdings.

Conflicts of interest
Since the fees of your advisor depend on the size of your holdings, this is a good incentive for your advisor to constantly seek to have them grow.

- Your advisor could focus entirely on your holdings and not your entire financial situation such as managing your debts and providing basic protection, etc.)

For example, your advisor could constantly encourage you to increase your holdings of investments (thus charging you higher management fees) and not pay-off your debts in spite of high interest costs you may have.

As such, there is some likelihood of having a conflict of interests.

However, this aspect could be controlled in part by setting a maximum limit on the fees which your advisor might charge.

Fee only financial planning, by the hour.

This form is advisable when you have certain very specific tasks to complete.

Conflicts of interest

- If you clearly set out the terms of your relationship with your advisor you can get an estimate of the time you will be charged (before contracting them) and you will know beforehand how much you'll be charged.

- Because you have limited time open, you are forced to have a clear idea of what you need.

- If you don't have a clear idea of what you need, this can translate into more time and expenses or that you waste time in non-relevant things, forgetting or overlooking other things which are of greater importance.

Some advisors may be tempted to drag things out longer in order to increase their fees.

However, you can control this if:

- You clearly establish what results you expect including all the details you need.

- The time in which this is expected.

- You avoid adding new requirements to what you first stated.

Even so, if it is necessary to increase the number of hours in order to add some important elements, this is really worth while since it affects your financial future.

Fee-only financial planning based on the project.

This form is advisable when you want to have a specific project, such as, for example a comprehensive plan or a retirement plan.

Conflicts of interest

- You know from the start how much it will cost.

- Since time is limited, you are forced to have your objectives clear.

- If a company or advisor has many clients, this could be delayed or you could receive poorly completed work.

For this reason it is important to learn how to choose a financial planner.

- If you don't clearly set out at the start that you will need help in putting the plan into action you could end up with a plan you don't know how to use or will have to pay higher fees.

- In theory you cannot add extra items to your initial requirements once the project has begun.

There is little likelihood of any conflict of interests.

Fee only financial planning with a fixed annual fee.

This arrangement is advisable if you believe you will need to be in continual contact with your advisor.

Conflicts of interest

- You have no time pressure and need not clearly remember all your requirements, to start.

- In the long term, this kind of arrangement can be the least expensive.

- You always have someone available to ask

- As above, if this company or advisor has too many clients or projects this could compromise the level of service you receive.

No conflict likely.

asteriskTip: One golden recommendation is to avoid haggling or shaving costs in an advisor in place of seeking out the best advice you can afford in relation to your situation.  The quality of the advice you receive will directly affect your financial future.

If you wish to share some experience, pros, cons or conflict of interest issues which have not been mentioned here,  Contact us and add your experience and knowledge to our community

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