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Finding the Difference Between Fee-Only vs. Fee-Based Services

Exploring the fee-only vs. fee-based debate

A quick search of “financial planners” will result in a growing number of fee-only planners. But what exactly is fee-only? And how does that influence a potential customer when selecting a financial planner?

Another quick search of “fee-only planners” will result in definitions from places like Forbes.com and Yahoo Finance, who provide a short definition that works on the surface but doesn’t provide nearly enough information to make an informed decision. Forbes defines fee only financial planners as a “registered investment advisor with a fiduciary responsibility to act in their clients’ best interest” (1). Which leads us the burning question…shouldn’t all advisors being working in their client’s best interest?

Simply put fee-only agents operate through one mechanism: they work with a client. All payment received is compensation for...

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