what to know about certified financial planners

A Certified Financial Planners (CFP)  is trained to assess your financial situation, evaluate your investments, and develop a plan of action. This will include preparing a comprehensive financial plan, implementing recommendations, and monitoring the plan on an ongoing basis. There should also be an analysis of your estate plan, an evaluation of insurance coverage and products, and asset allocation recommendations for investment accounts. A CFP should always work in the client’s best interest and be clear of the scope of services being offered and any compensation for these services.

How does a CFP get paid?
The CFP may charge:
1. A fee only (flat fee or hourly) rate that could be for a one-time consultation or reoccurring.
2. A fee based on assets under management (AUM); the average fee is 1%.
3. A commission from investment products (less common) and insurance products.

If you’re working or planning to work with a CFP, ask them about their fee structure (which may be combination of the fees noted above), and the scope of services they offer. Large accounts usually pay an AUM fee, with all financial planning services included.

Paul Tramontozzi, a Certified Financial Planner at KBK Wealth Management, says he charges on a case by case basis, noting that, “If someone comes to me with no/very little assets, but needs a lot of guidance, I would charge a consulting fee.” He also notes that CFPs are held to a fiduciary standard, requiring them to put clients’ interests above their own.

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