Does Your Financial Planner Have a Big Appetite for Fees?

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Don’t Let Them Have YOUR Cake and Eat It Too!

 

Preparing for retirement is a bit like baking a layer cake. You diligently bring together the right ingredients—adding, saving, and monitoring the progress—to bring to life the creation you had envisioned: your retirement. All those layers of hard work and life savings come together in one sweet reward. Unfortunately, you might not be the only one who wants a slice.  

In fact, while you’re sitting back admiring that big, beautiful cake, you probably didn’t see the line of folks forming around it with forks and knives in hand. And who’s at the front of the line? Your financial advisor. 

Yes, your financial advisor probably had a hand in helping you bake that cake. Perhaps they gave you the recipe for success, helped you grow the ingredients, and even set up some retirement accounts for your kids to get them off to a good start, too. Maybe it makes sense that they’re first in line. 

But things change in retirement. You’ve finished baking the cake. Now it’s time to enjoy it, savor it, and make it last as long as possible. Is it really fair for your financial advisor to get the first bite? And how many slices should they reasonably get? Let’s take a look at what they’re expecting.  

The first slice they may want is a percentage of your retirement, and boy is it a big one. This slice is the assets under management fee. Regardless of what work they do (or don’t do), they’ll charge around 1% every year. Over the course of 20 years, that can be close to 25% of your entire cake. If the market goes down (which, contrary to what we’ve seen over the last ten years, does occasionally happen) and your cake shrinks, they’ll still want their 1%. 

Next, you may lose another slice to investment costs. This can be in the form of an upfront fee (such as front-end sales charges deducted directly from your investment on Class A mutual funds) or simply annual management fees. What’s worse is that you don’t even see them coming, because the statements never show the costs. Instead, they’re simply netted off your gains or losses to the tune of another 1% (or as high as 2.5%). Who’s eating this slice? Not your financial advisor, but the investment managers of the funds he or she chooses. 

While that might not sound like much, these slices add up over time. It can mean the difference between enjoying your Golden Years or living lean and going back to work just to make it through. Unfortunately, most retirees never ask the hard questions. They just continue to share their cake and hope it lasts. 

So please remember this is your cake. It does not belong to your financial advisor. You worked a lifetime for it, and you’re entitled to take their plate and fork away, especially when you no longer need them to “manage” investments. You’re entitled to an expert who knows how to protect your retirement and not just eat it. You need a retirement planner. 

If you’re wondering where to start, or just need a second opinion, you’re in the right place. Our team of retirement planners have no appetite for fees. We work on a clear, flat-fee pricing model that doesn’t charge more because you have more, and always includes asset protection, tax prep, and the help of estate planning attorneys to set up a trust if you need it. Plus, we’ll help you uncover the advisor fees and hidden internal costs in your portfolio that decrease your returns and help ensure that you’re protected against long-term care costs and an unduly large tax burden—both of which can also take a bite out of your retirement savings. Contact us to learn more or schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our planners. 

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