Most people have a lot of questions: Should your adviser be a fiduciary? What’s wrong with “free” financial services? And what’s the difference between “fee-based” and “fee-only?”
Brooklyn-based writer Anya Kamenetz blogs about education at NPR and is also a columnist for “The Savings Game.” She recently wrote about what she and her husband learned from interviewing four potential financial advisers, after making the decision to hire someone to help them with their personal finances.
We’ll let Anya explain the issues below in her own words. We’ve talked before about why your advisory should be a fiduciary who works only for you, and how “free” services from your broker are often anything but.
(Editorial note: We are a fiduciary, we never accept investment commissions, and we have always provided financial planning and investment management services on a fee-only, no commission basis).
Take it away, Anya.
“I knew I didn’t want to go with an “investment manager” employed by a big brokerage. They are alluring because their services are free, but their job is to steer you into actively managed funds, annuities and other products offered by that company. Most retail investors lose out due to high fees with this kind of investing, and they may also be steered into products with an inappropriate level of risk.”
“Ask to make sure your adviser doesn’t take any commissions from anyone else, and that they swear a “fiduciary oath” that they are acting only in their clients’ financial interests. (“Fee-based” sounds similar to “fee-only,” but a fee-based financial planner can still collect commissions from companies that market financial products.)”
Anya Kamenetz, “What I learned from sitting down with 4 financial advisers,” Chicago Tribune, December 8, 2015