Fee-only Financial Planning is a term used to describe the financial planning process where a fee is charged for the development of a financial plan rather than relying on potential commissions generated from the sale of product. It is suggested, and I agree, that this creates a relationship without any conflict of interest and the result is truly unbiased financial advice that is exclusively in your best interests.
Proper Financial Planning is exclusively about advice, answering questions and solving problems. If you have an issue that is a problem, then you need advice as to how to fix that problem. If you’re wondering how to do something, then you need an assessment of your alternatives and recommendations as to which alternative best suits you. If you don’t know whether you’re on the right track or not, then you need a financial plan to help you figure that out. None of these have anything to do with any sort of financial product. It’s all about the advice.
Clients approach us for all sorts of plans. Everything we do is completely customized. We don’t try to fit you into a ‘package’ plan. Typically, the planning we do falls into one or more of the following categories:
- Retirement (Financial Independence) Planning
- Retirement Income Planning ( a spending or draw-down plan)
- Investment Planning (Portfolio Reviews)
- Tax Planning
- Estate Planning
- Cash Management and Debt Reduction
- Risk Management and Insurance Planning
- Education Planning
A Comprehensive Financial Plan will include as many of these areas as are relevant to your situation.
Our fees for this work have ranged from $1250 to $2750.
Our introductory session is complimentary and can take place in person or on the phone. I do not provide any advice, therefore no fee is charged for this time. The purpose of this session is to determine if we are a good fit for one another – can I actually help you or is someone else better equipped to do that? Do you like the sound of what I do and how I do it or is someone else a better fit?
Once I have a sense of the services you are requesting and your situation, I will draw up a Letter of Engagement. This is effectively a quote. It outlines my understanding of the work you are requesting and provides a price range for the services. I always quote a price range – sometimes an issue is more complex than I initially thought, or you may wish a slight revision to your plan once you’ve seen the results. Either way, the additional time is already accounted for and you know the maximum amount you would be paying for our services.
If you like what you see in the Letter of Engagement, you sign it and send it back to me. I will then provide you with a list of the information I need to complete your plan and an invoice for the deposit.
Once those items are received, I start work on your plan. It usually takes 2 – 3 weeks to complete a plan once I have all the information.
I contact you when your plan is complete and we set up an appointment to review it. I answer any questions as we go through the plan.
I will then leave you with the plan for a couple of weeks to review and consider whether you want any revisions or if you have further questions.
If you have more questions, we will address them either by email / phone call or another appointment – whatever works best for you.
At this point I would send you the invoice for the balance of the plan fee.
I also schedule a reminder in my calendar for the following year to contact you to see how you are progressing with the implementation of your plan. I will enquire as to whether there have been any changes in your situation that warrant an update to the plan or whether you have any questions you’d like to discuss. Some clients request / require an update annually, others it’s every 2 – 3 years. The fee for a complete plan update is usually 1/3 to ½ of the original fee.
You don’t have to wait for me to contact you. We want to be the organization our clients turn to whenever they have an important decision to make.