In the world of financial advisors, there has been a surge in publicly of the gold standard, the fee-only advisor. This is an individual who will charge a flat rate or a percent of assets under management, in industry terms, they are an investment advisor representative. These advisors are regulated by the State or SEC to document the needs of their clients and any changes in their risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals. When establishing these needs the advisor will fill out an extensive intake questionnaire to assess investable assets, liabilities, and tax planning.
Most people associate fee-only advisors to a Certified Financial Planner. Like the fee-only advisor, this is an investment advisor representative but they take another test and pays an annual fee to have this designation. In return, the CFP board creates campaigns to aware consumers of the benefits of working with a designated Certified Financial Planner. Like many designations, there is ongoing continued education to keep them current which can be purchased from their website at www.cfp.net.
Here’s the thing if the advisor sells insurance products they will not be able to call themselves fee-only advisor. When the advisor sells insurance their payment is called a commission, that commission is paid by the insurance company and the advisor is not acting as a representative of that company, but an agent who is filling out a suitability form instead of this extensive process. Since it’s paid by the company and not out of your pocket the agent is not required to disclose their commission.
Insurance instruments are tools for legacy planning, tax planning, and long term health care. In my opinion, to recommend these tools and understand how they fit into the big picture your agent should have an idea of the financial plan. If you outsource a portion of that plan if can allow weaknesses because there is not the careful vigilance of the financial advisor.
If you are looking for an advisor, make sure they are going to fit your needs and put together a comprehensive plan for your investments and insurance needs. Our firm is an independent insurance agency that will provide you with multiple carrier options and disclose all fees.