Finding a good Fee Only Financial Advisor
November 28, 2022 10:16 AM   Subscribe

What is says on the tin. I need to find a trusted fee only financial advisor. I am familiar with sites like Napfa and FeeOnlyNetwork but last time I tried to do this, I got discouraged by the number of people to choose from, and got decision fatigue. Is there a better way to find a good one? Any personal recommendations? I need help with retirement, tax strategies, 529s, and all the other fun stuff that mid-career professionals with kids think about.
posted by jasondigitized to Work & Money (3 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A while back I asked a question in this general vein, and what I ended up doing was focusing on people local to me, which drastically reduced the number to evaluate. I then further winnowed them down based on their websites (some were very clearly targeting a different customer base, or were annoying or concerning in "get rich quick" ways). And finally I got it down to I think 4 that I reached out to for a quick initial consultation. Out of those, one of them said they don't do what I want (I was looking for a single consultation rather than an ongoing relationship) and one turned out to be a much larger operation than I wanted and fobbed me off to an entry-level assistant rather than the person whose bio I had been attracted to. So I talked to two of them, and from there, it was pretty clear to me which was a better fit for my style and goals, and I have been very happy with them.

I realize that for most of this work, it can all be done online or over the phone, so having them be local is not really necessary. But it helped me narrow it down a lot, and has also turned out to be beneficial in a few other ways. For example, we needed to do estate planning, and our financial advisor had referrals to several great local attorneys their clients like (and because some aspects of estate planning are state-specific, having that person be local is important). Similarly, they are familiar with our state's income tax situation, so have been able to give some state-specific advice on that.

Also, remember that anyone you choose to work with is not permanent. It's ok to try them, decide it's not right, and move along. Narrow it down a bit, pick a small handful who seem reasonable to talk to, choose the best of those, and give them a shot with the understanding that it's a trial run.
posted by primethyme at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2022

Best answer: DMed you a personal recommendation.
posted by caek at 10:43 AM on November 28, 2022

My approach was very much like primethyme's. I ended up with just 5 local ones to choose from. I nixed 2 because of vibes from their websites. I interviewed the other 3, and found that all of them had a free initial session for each party to see if we're a good fit. I ended up going with a one-woman operation based on her declaration of her values fitting what I wanted, her education and previous experience in investments, and her option of a brief time-boxed engagement over the course of 6 months. Also, the other 2 handed me off to assistants right after the free initial session, and I didn't want that. I hadn't interviewed the assistants and hadn't had a chance or desire to choose a relationship with them.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:47 AM on November 28, 2022

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