The appeal of having financial advisors helping out your individual or organizational cash allocation is clear and apparent. Instead of having to pour over spreadsheets, instead of having to do endless research on investment opportunities, instead of studying how similar individuals and organizations spend their money, you can simply use your time more productively by focusing on more productive or enjoyable tasks. When getting ready to hire a financial advisor it’s wise to have a good idea of how you’re going to pay those advisors. Not all financial advisory services make their money the same way, and there’s no one “best” method of payment appropriate for every organization or individual.
Salaried Financial Advisors
At the simplest level there are financial advisory services who are paid regular salaries regardless of their performance. While salaried financial management employees often receive a sliding scale of bonuses for the accounts they bring in to their firm, these individuals don’t rely on performance incentives. Salaried financial advisors most often work for banks and less expensive brokerage firms which often charge a fixed fee for their financial advisory services.
Fee Based Financial Advisors
You may also hire financial management professionals who receive their compensation entirely from fees. These individuals will charge you a flat fee for their services, like you would pay for a bank’s services, but they are generally unaffiliated with any larger organization. Some fee based financial advisors work for RIA firms, but many of them work freelance. The only incentives fee based advisors receive from their advice’s performance is client loyalty. This is a double edged sword. On the one hand these advisors make the same money regardless of how their advice performs. On the other hand they have no financial or organizational incentive to recommend an investment opportunity they don’t agree with.
Financial Advisors Who Earn Fees and Commissions
On the market there are also fee based financial advisory services providers who receive an additional commission when they sell you on products or extra services. These types of advisors often work for larger firms which offer a wide range of products and services. They will often charge you for the initial financial plan they lay out for you, and then attempt to upsell you for a larger package of financial advisory services. While this might sound sleazy it isn’t always a bad thing to purchase additional products and services, just be aware these advisors are incentivized to do so regardless of their personal opinion on those add-ons.
Commission Based Financial Advisors
Finally there are financial advisors who work entirely on commission. While the word “commission
brings to mind individuals who make a certain cut of the profits their financial plan earns you, in the financial advisory services world “commission” usually means commission on products and services these advisors sell to individuals and organizations. For example Farm agents work entirely on commission; they make their money from selling you financial products like insurance policies or investment packages.