While good advice may not be cheap, bad advice always costs you dearly no matter how little you pay for it.
— Larry Swedrow, Investment Author
Price is only ever an issue in the absence of value.
Many people hesitate to call a professional financial planner because they are concerned about cost. This is certainly understandable given the many financial obligations we all have. But a better question might be this: what will it cost you to go without professional advice? It’s not uncommon for people to throw away tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars over their lifetime by making poor financial decisions on their own.
True Fee-Only Financial Planning
As a fee-only (as opposed to fee-based or commission-based) firm, we do not make any money from recommending, selling, or trading financial or insurance products and services. Somebody does have to pay us, and from a conflict-of-interest standpoint, we believe it should only be the people we’re advising — not the companies, products, individuals or investments we might be recommending.
Key Subject Matter Planning Areas
You may choose limited-scope or comprehensive planning engagements from the key subject planning areas noted below:
- Insurance and Benefits
- Real Estate and Mortgages
- Debt, Credit and Cash Flow
- Taxes, Tax Planning and Tax Deferral
- Retirement, Social Security and Pension Claims
- Education Planning and Funding
- Estate Planning and Protection
Because most individuals can benefit from some level of financial advice, planning or investment management help, we do not impose any minimum income or asset requirements. It is also why we offer advice on an hourly, as-needed basis or on a flat fee arrangement. While some clients are interested in broad and ongoing financial planning and management, others simply want a few hours of advice on a specific topic.
Value-Based Fee Structure
Our fees are based on three key components: your net worth, your annual income, and the overall complexity of your situation. All fees are based on the complexity of your financial circumstances, goals and composition of income and assets as well as the value that we provide from our guidance and planning strategies recommended.
You may choose to pay Hourly Rates, Flat Rate Project-Based Fees or as a Percentage of Assets Managed.
Our goal is always to provide value that is greater than the fee we charge. If we cannot show you how you will get greater value than the fee you pay, then we will not recommend the comprehensive approach to you but offer a more limited-scope project tailored to your needs.
Our financial planning services are not free though we strive to make them accessible and affordable to clients of varying means. We offer flat rate project-based programs for single-topic or more broad planning covering multiple topics. You may find an outline of these projects and illustrative fees under the “Financial Plan Services” tab.
A general guideline to our fees is:
- Hourly Fees
Our hourly fee ranges from $90/hour to $300/hour depending on your individual circumstances. The average hourly fee ranges between $170/hour and $200/hour with a three-hour minimum. Initial conversations are complimentary.
- WealthCare QuickStart & Limited Scope Financial Plan Fees
Modular or Single Topic: If you want us to address specific issues or questions, we can research and provide answers and an action plan customized to you. For a sampling of the types of issues addressed and the samples of some of the reports prepared, please visit the website under the “Financial Plan Services” or “Resources” tabs.
- WealthCare Financial Plan© Fees
More Comprehensive: We offer a customized broad-based financial plan that encompasses many aspects of your personal wealth including taxes, insurance, loans, credit management, estate issues and investing. The value of this program is to help you save money and protect your wealth from unnecessary taxes, investment expenses, insurance risks and lost opportunities that can eat away at your wealth. We charge a fixed fee generally based on your income, net worth, scope and complexity of your situation. Fees may range between $1,200 and $5,000. For most middle-income households our Gold multi-topic program that covers up to 4 planning areas will average between $2,500 and $3,500 for a plan with a full year of support. The more comprehensive Platinum program covers more topic areas and may include tax preparation or review services. This program starts at $4,000 for those with Net Worth from $500,000 up to $2 million.
A general guideline for Platinum comprehensive planning projects is approximately 0.5% of income plus 0.5% of net worth, subject to a minimum fee level. A general guideline for Gold planning projects is approximately 0.5% of income plus 0.25% of net worth, subject to a minimum fee level. A general guideline for Silver planning projects is approximately 0.5% of income plus 0.10% of net worth, subject to a minimum fee level. Clients may pay less for more limited-scope plans and more for certain special projects or topics.
Since everyone’s circumstances are different, we suggest calling for a specific quote.
- Ongoing Advice and Support
Advisor On Call Program©: We firmly believe that financial planning is a dynamic process. Clients may benefit from an ongoing review process and help with implementation of various aspects of their tax, estate, investment or financial plan. This program is designed to keep you on track with your plan and help answer questions that you face as your personal circumstances change over time. As a stand-alone service, this is available starting at $500 per year. It is included as part of the WealthCare Gold or Platinum retainer programs.
- Managed Money Fees
MarketFlex Portfolio Services©: If we manage your money, the annual fee for doing so ranges from 0.33% to 1.5% of assets under management, depending on the size and asset mix of your portfolio. As part of our effort to maintain transparency, we also offer an alternative flat rate program when combined with one of our WealthCare Financial Plan programs. In this arrangement our fee generally ranges between 0.6% and 0.80% of assets managed but may be lower for certain types of portfolios or platforms used (i.e. 0.40% using a Robo-Advisor platform). Additional fees may be incurred depending on the custodian and if a third-party money manager is selected. Also, in other circumstances, a flat fee may be negotiated for portfolio management services.
- Retirement Management Service for In-Service 401(k) Plans: The 401(k) Monitor
You may benefit from the watchful monitoring and proactive management of your 401(k). Through our partnership arrangement with Retirement Management Systems, Inc. (RMS), we can manage your company-sponsored 401(k) account you have now. After developing your customized retirement strategy, RMS will review the investment alternatives in your employer’s plan and actively execute your strategy and make needed changes throughout the year. This service is available for a flat fee starting at $360 per year for accounts with a balance of $250,000 or less.
How Clear View Compares to Peers
Our fees are generally lower than our peers – up to 50% less for investment management services.
Part of this is because of the technologies and custodian platforms we use. Another key reason is because of our investment philosophy that focuses on low-cost investments as the anchor of any portfolio.
We utilize technology in a way to lower our costs and pass on the savings while also lowering overall risk. Generally, our combined fees for planning and investment management are lower than larger firms which focus predominantly or exclusively on investment management.
Client Asset Level / Fee Range for Peers
$100,000 = 1% to 1.49%
$300,000 = 1% to 1.24%
$750,000 = 0.75% to 1.24%
$1.5 million = 0.75% to 0.99%
$5 million = <0.75%
Clear View’s fees for our core investment service is 0.40% (plus any applicable custodian/platform fee averaging 0.20%). This is well under our peer group averages. For those who opt for one of our other dynamic management models our fee on that portion of assets ranges from 0.60% to 0.80% per year. The minimum fee for many of our peers is listed at $4,000 per year. We offer more flexible project arrangements and our minimum fees begin at lower levels. When combined with one of our flat fee retainer programs, the combined fee is still generally less than the asset-based fee by peers who may not even provide non-investment financial planning guidance.
To learn more about our business and practices, please see our ADV Part 2, which is the uniform disclosure form used by Registered Investment Advisory firms.