If you still find the need for personalized, professional investment advice but want to avoid the conflicts of interest at full-service brokers, fee-based planners can be a worthy consideration. Fee-based planners usually charge their clients based on a variety of factors, and the way they get paid does not have a large inherent conflict of interest.
In general, planners and advisors get paid in one of three ways. First, they may charge you a percentage of your assets on an ongoing basis (say, 1% a year, not including brokerage costs or any expenses associated with mutual funds). Other planners charge a dollar rate on a per-job or hourly basis. Finally, others earn commissions on any products they sell you. Some planners may use a combination of these fee structures--for example, a planner might charge you an hourly rate to set up your plan and also put you in funds on which he or she earns a commission. The upshot is that most planners do not have the incentive to encourage frequent trading, but they can be just as (if not more) expensive as full-service brokers.
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