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What’s Your Service Level?


I follow a few financial planners on Twitter and last week two of them were going back and forth (in a positive interaction) tweeting about how service levels differ between financial planners, advisors and salespeople.  One of them, Carolyn McClanahan, has a graphic on her website comparing her services to asset-based advisors and commission-based advisors.  I thought this was great as I frequently get people asking me what the difference is between what I cover with my clients and the typical financial advisor.  It is so great I created my own and figured it was worth sharing to illustrate what comprehensive financial planning looks like in my world.


Forward Thinking Wealth ManagementAsset-Based Fee AdvisorCommissioned Salespeople
How CompensatedFlat RetainerPercentage of Assets (Often 1% or more)Commission varies by product
Annual Client Cost$4,800Example: $1 million portfolio = $10,000???
Fiduciary DutyYesYesNo
Portfolio AnalysisYesYes?
Ongoing Investment ManagementYesYes?
Financial Plan DevelopmentYes??
Goal Setting and MonitoringYes??
Tax MinimizationYes??
Retirement AnalysisYes??
Retirement Income PlanningYes??
Social Security OptimizationYes??
Estate Planning ReviewYes??
Insurance ReviewYes??
Student Loan ReviewYes??
Education PlanningYes??
Mortgage Review and AssistanceYes??
Health Care PlanningYes??
Employee Benefits AnalysisYes??
Behavioral Finance GuidanceYes??
Coordination with Attorney, CPAs, etcYes??
Unbiased Advice (not influenced by compensation)Yes??
Receipt or Payment of Referral FeesNo??
Account Aggregation & Portfolio Monitoring SoftwareYes??
Weekly Contact by AdvisorYes??
Virtual Advisor (Can work with clients anywhere)Yes??