How to find the right financial adviser for you.
Question: I have always been a self-directed investor, though I have sought advice from time to time. I tend towards a lot of risky small caps along with a core of Google, Amazon and Apple, plus some ETFs. And for the most part have done pretty well, retiring at age 58. I do have about 25% in some smaller high-beta companies mostly from Motley Fool recommendations. I also have 20% in cash, which didn’t bother me too much, but with high inflation that concerns me a little. Now I’m 65 and semi-retired, earning just a little bit of money as a freelance graphic designer and a musician. (Looking for a financial adviser too? You can use this tool to get matched with an adviser who may meet your needs.)
I’d like to get a checkup/second opinion once or twice a year without paying an advisor an ongoing fee based on assets. With combined portfolios of about $1.8 million, I hate the idea of paying 1% or $18,000 for a high-priced advisor to plug my variables into an app and spit out an algorithmic asset allocation dressed up as a custom financial plan. Instead, I’d rather pay an hourly or flat fee for specific advice on how to strengthen my financial position. Suggestions on how to find a compatible advisor are welcome.
Answer: Congratulations on your success as a self-directed investor! And you’re right, it would be a waste of your time and money to have a financial adviser collect your documents, plug in numbers and read you the conclusion. “It seems like you’re looking for an adviser who can double-check to make sure that you are on the right path and that there aren’t any foreseeable obstacles in your way,” says certified financial planner Danielle Miura of Spark Financials.
“To find a compatible adviser, you’ll want to search for someone who is advice-only, and will not seek to manage your investments. Instead, they will charge hourly or a fixed price for a term-limited engagement,” says Kaleb Paddock, certified financial planner at Ten Talents Financial Planning. The value of this kind of relationship is the adviser will help you with tax planning, insurance planning, estate and beneficiary planning, healthcare planning and more, Paddock explains.
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“You can find an adviser by using XY Planning Network, NAPFA, or Fee-Only Network and look for advice-only advisers through those reputable networks,” says Paddock. If you can’t tell from their websites how they are paid, you can call and ask whether they have hourly rates or project-based rates that will suit your needs. Depending on where you’re located and how complex your situation is, you can likely expect to pay between $200 and $500 per hour or anywhere from $1,000 to $7,500 for project-based engagements. You can use this tool to get matched with an adviser who may meet your needs.
“When you are searching for an adviser to work with, ask them what they will provide for you beyond your investments. You can ask, based on the information you’ve provided, what they think are the most important topics that you should cover together. If there’s something specific that you would like to work on, ask the adviser if they can tell you a story about how they’ve worked with clients on that issue in the past,” says Miura. And be sure to ask these 15 question to any adviser you might hire.
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