Fee-Only refers to a specific method of compensation in which financial planners are compensated exclusively from the fees paid by their clients. They specifically choose not to accept commissions, kick-backs, finder’s fees or compensation from any other source. This is significant and important because earning one’s living by selling products or services for which a commission is paid leaves the financial planner with an inherent conflicts of interest. The success of a financial planner should not be based on the number of products a client purchases, but on the success of his or her clients. This is why no referral fees, commissions, or other reimbursements from the implementation of recommendations are accepted.
The fee is often less than the sales load you would pay on just one mutual fund purchased through a commissioned broker. Being compensated by a predetermined client fee rather than commissions reduces conflict of interest as well as Advisor bias. Fee-Only financial planning means that it is our fiduciary responsibly to act in our clients' best interest.
Our approach to financial planning is to focus on the process rather than the product. As such, we have structured our fee as an open-ended retainer. This allows our clients to call or come in to see us throughout the year. This access is over and above the regularly scheduled appointments and at no additional fee. Our view is that we would much prefer our clients call us for a small conversation in advance of making a financial decision rather than afterwards, when a considerable amount of time, energy and effort may be needed to unravel a disastrous decision.
As licensed professionals, all personal financial advisors of Northern Financial Advisors hold either the nationally recognized designation of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) or its equivalent, usually with advanced credentials. Other professional affiliations include the FPA (Financial Planning Association) and NATP (National Association of Tax Professionals). These advisors serve our clients in a fiduciary role, meaning it is their responsibility to consider your financial interest first and foremost. Finally, each Licensed Advisor receives rigorous academic training before joining the team and on-going coaching with senior advisors and through professional trade organizations after they begin to see clients.
We remain available to help with integrating all the financial areas in your life including; tax planning and preparation, risk management, estate planning, retirement and investment advice. Our approach includes a wide range of services and we understand that our clients may need some or all of the services we offer as each situation is unique. We work with you to determine which areas are priorities for you and those areas that we feel need immediate attention.
When we are working on one aspect of your financial life, we always recognize and pay attention to the implications for all other areas of your financial affairs. Purchases and sales of investments have tax consequences. Certain insurance decisions may have investment implications. Buying a new home may impact your plans to fund your child’s education. All these examples and many more show just how common it is for one change in your finances to affect and impact many others. Our approach can be harnessed to advance your financial plan. Without this integration a financial decision may have unanticipated consequences.
What this can mean for you...
It is our belief that individuals who have a financial plan often fare better financially than those without one. Our clients don’t just get some formal, written plan that gathers dust. History has shown us that a dynamic finanical plan that can be altered as conditions warrant is a much more effective strategy. With our ongoing help clients are better able to navigate through the choppy waters of bear and bull markets. You will have access to professionally trained and financially astute advisors who can see and implement the big strategic picture while being responsive to the specific hopes, dreams, aspirations and needs of each of their clients.
Our fee-only, open-ended retainer approach has been shown to be an effective way for middle-Americans to access the coaching necessary to improve their financial life. We will work with you to help use your resources wisely to achieve the life of your dreams.