Someone once called me a unicorn (their term, not mine), since they found it hard to find someone like me.
This was because I don’t have sales licenses for product sales. I’m fee-only and a fiduciary as a result. Actually, only a small, but growing, percentage of financial advisers are fee-ONLY.
You can vet me extensively below where I’ve placed key links in one place for you.
Fiduciary Oath and ethics. Fiduciary 101.
I am a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) and follow the Financial Planning Process as developed by the CFP® Board of Standards.
I am a National Association of Personal Financial Advisers (NAPFA) Registered Financial Advisor (NAPFA info) as well as a member of the Fee-Only Network.
Most people don’t know there’s this difference.
So, what IS the difference between advisers? Most people don’t know there are many differences.
I’m registered for investment advice under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. How can you tell if someone is registered this way? Look at their ADV which they are required by the Act to give you either before or soon after you meet (you can request it earlier too) …. WHO is listed as the Registered Investment Adviser? Didn’t get an ADV? Then it is likely they’re registered under the Act below.
I am NOT registered for investment sales under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 which governs licensing of brokers and dealers, who may work on as fee-based (commissions and fees). There’s an often missed difference between the terms fee-only and fee-based that people miss.
More info from FINRA on definitions and more may be found here.
Details about how to find my specific registration may be found here.
I have evidence based, peer reviewed, academic research published in the Journal of Financial Planning researching the nascent area of retirement income.
My book called “Wealth Odyssey” has sales even after many years since publication. It describes how the various areas of personal finance fit together so people see the bigger picture, rather than just separate pieces, and make better decisions about the over financial journey through life.
Better Financial Education via NAPFA and my bio there.
My information on the Fee Only Network.
My bio on my website (and When I was 10).
Bottom line: 1) I’m a fiduciary and bound to act in your interests, 2) my fees are based on either assets under advisement, or hourly charges (not both), and compensation is not based on product sales or brokerage commissions, and finally 3) I do not receive other transaction-based compensation from a brokerage firm or product sponsor.
PS. Additional information may be found through my completed answers to NAPFA’s Comprehensive Financial Advisor Diagnostic.
PPS. If you feel I’m too far away, you can find a unicorn nearer to you using the “Find an Adviser” feature through the fee-only association National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.
PPPS. This post explains how to get the most education out of this blog site too.
Kitces has summarized “The 15 (Fiduciary) Duties To Clients That CFP Professionals Must Comply With” for the standards effective in 2019 and enforced in 2020. This is a great article with good graphs to explain how CFP Professionals interact with people.
Here’s a great article about the new Customer Relationship Summary (CRS) and two (actually three) good questions to ask:
“If a financial adviser can’t say ‘yes’ to these 2 revealing questions, save your money for one who can”
Also note that terms like registered representative, or agent, or reference to licenses (which are licenses to SELL, not ADVISE) are good key giveaways about not being fiduciary. There are no such things as licenses or certifications to advise, only certifications for planning.
My CRS is on my website’s home page https://www.betterfinancialeducation.com/