Satori Wealth Management is a fee-only financial planning firm that helps individuals and families plan their most fulfilling retirement. Our firm has over 20 years of experience as fee-only financial planners in San Diego.
We take a unique approach of providing a framework for your life in retirement before making any financial recommendations. We are committed to understanding our client’s short and long-term goals to help them avoid the two common pitfalls:
- You keep working much longer than you have to or want to.
- You retire but you’re afraid to spend money and constantly worry about not having enough.
You only get one chance in retirement. We help you ensure it is the richest and fullest retirement you can imagine. Through trustworthy advice that is always in your best interest.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fee-Only Advisors In San Diego
What is a Fee-only Financial Advisor?
A fee-only financial advisor provides advice and services to help people make better financial decisions. They can assist people with investing their money, lowering taxes, and retirement planning. Other common services include college planning, insurance planning and estate planning.
What’s the difference between a regular and a fee-only financial advisor in San Diego? The primary difference is where the advisor’s fees come from. A fee-only financial advisor receives their compensation directly from their clients. It’s a transparent exchange of fees for advice. In other words, a fee-only advisor is held to a higher fiduciary standard.
Advisors that are not fee-only can receive compensation in the form of commissions and third-party fees. There are thousands of investment products you can invest in. Many of which pay advisors a commission when they sell them to you.
This presents a conflict of interest to the advisor in recommending the best thing for you. Furthermore, investment products alone are not the solution to financial growth and security. Good financial decision making is.
How Much Does a Fee-Only Financial Advisor Cost in San Diego?
The cost of a fee-only financial advisor can depend on geographical location, the advisor’s experience, and scope of services. There are three primary ways that advisors structure fees:
- Flat fees
- Hourly fees
In the San Diego area, there are many fee-only financial advisory firms you can choose to work with. But the right advisor for you depends on your needs. A fee-only advisor who charges a flat fee could be right for you if you are looking for a limited amount of advice. A good example would be if you received an inheritance and wanted a one-time financial plan. Or you want to know the best Social Security strategy for you and your spouse. A financial plan can typically range between $1,500-$10,000 depending on complexity. The higher range is more for complex estate, business and real estate planning.
If your needs go beyond a limited engagement, an hourly fee structure could be a better fit for you. Hourly fees are just that – you pay the financial planner by the hour for the amount of work needed. This engagement can be short or long-term. Some hourly planners provide investment management services while others do not. This fee arrangement has become popular with younger generations such as Millenials. It is not uncommon to see hourly rates between $150-$500, although it is possible to pay more than that. It is also not uncommon for an hourly planner to charge an additional flat fee to create the financial plan.
The most common compensation method is the fee-based structure. This is where the fee-only advisor is managing the client’s investment portfolio. The annualized fee can range anywhere from .5-2% of the assets under management. The percentage fee charged typically covers comprehensive financial planning services in addition to investment management. People with long-term investment management needs can be a good fit for a fee-based planner.
What is a Fee-Only Financial Planner in San Diego?
A fee-only financial planner is a type of financial advisor that provides ongoing financial planning. Like a fee-only advisor, most financial planners today also offer investment management services. Many have a fee-based structure where the investment management fee includes financial planning. They provide advice on taxes, investments, insurance, retirement and income planning. They can also specialize in different areas such as retirement or business planning. A financial planner will help align your financial and personal decision making. What age you can retire and how much you can spend in retirement are some examples of questions a financial planner can help you with.
What is a Fiduciary in San Diego?
Financial advisors and planners fit into two categories: fiduciary and non-fiduciary. A fiduciary is a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons, putting their clients’ interest ahead of their own. Fee-only advisors and planners have a fiduciary duty to their clients over any duty to a broker, dealer, or other institution.
So shouldn’t every financial advisor be held to a fiduciary standard? We think the answer to that should be a resounding “YES.” Unfortunately, only a small percentage of financial advisors are fee-only fiduciaries. Advisors who are not fee-only are held to what is called a suitability standard.
The suitability standard only requires that the advisor “reasonably believe” that recommendations made are suitable for the client. So an investment recommendation for a client only has to be suitable. It doesn’t have to be consistent with the individual investor’s objectives and best interests. Also, the need to disclose potential conflicts of interest is not as strict a rule as it is with a fiduciary. Again, an advisor that is not fee-only if he/she is receiving commissions or fees from third parties. Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Merrill Lynch are some non-fiduciary broker-dealers that you may be familiar with in San Diego.
What is A Fee-Only Wealth Management Firm in San Diego?
Wealth managers are just another subset of financial advisors. One thing that sets them apart from other advisors is their clientele. Wealth managers primarily serve affluent and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. And as the title implies, they usually manage large amounts of wealth for their clients. Depending on the size of the wealth management firm, clients can have the ability to work with a team or one-on-one with a manager.
While they may offer some of the same services that a financial planner does, not all wealth management firms are fee-only. The majority are affiliated with broker-dealers. Some examples of wealth management firms in San Diego are J.P. Morgan, UBS and Northern Trust. For ultra-high net worth families, they can offer services that smaller institutions can’t. Some examples would be complex charitable planning and private lending.
Qualifications for Financial Advisors in San Diego
When searching for a fee-only financial advisor near you, you will see many different credentials. Certain credentials require the advisor to go through rigorous examinations and ongoing education. The national boards that govern the certifications usually have high standards for integrity and ethics.
There are more than 100 different financial advisor certifications and designations. Below we list the financial advisor certifications that matter most.
CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
The CFP® certification is the most recognized and rigorous credential for financial advisors and requires proficiency in all areas of financial planning. To become a CFP® , advisors must complete a set of courses, then pass a seven-hour exam. The pass rate is below 70%. The certification is issued and regulated by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP® Board).
It is a non-profit organization that serves the public by creating professional standards in personal financial planning. Their mission is to create competent and ethical financial planners who are committed to putting their clients’ best interests first. Each advisor trying to earn their CFP® will be examined by their education, the results of an exam conducted by the board, their experience, and their ethics.
ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant)
While less known than the CFP® designation, a ChFC also has education and training in financial planning. It was created by the American College of Financial Services in 1982 as a competitor to the CFP® credential. It requires the same core curriculum needed for the CFP® with a total of 8 courses needed for completion. A ChFC candidate also must have worked full-time for three of the last five years in a related field. An undergraduate or graduate degree counts toward one year of business experience.
PFS (Personal Financial Specialist)
A graduate of the American Institute of CPAs Personal Financial Planning program allows CPAs to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in personal financial planning. Only certified public accountants can receive the PFS designation. However, the personal liability they assume as accountants does not extend to the recommendations they make regarding investments.
AIF (Accredited Investment Fiduciary)
An AIF is a financial advisor who has gone through advanced courses to expand their knowledge and comprehension of fiduciary responsibilities. AIF’s must sign and agree to follow a code of ethics. They are also required to complete six hours of continuing education each year.
CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter)
The CLU is a designation for life insurance agents bestowed by the American College. It requires three years of business experience (two if the candidate has an undergraduate degree), passage of specialized tests across a range of life insurance topics, and adherence to an industry code of ethics.
Other Related Financial Credentials
CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
The CPA designation is granted by individual state boards of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and is considered to have the most rigorous requirements of any professional designation, which vary by state. CPAs assume personal liability for their work as accountants, auditors, and tax advisors. Ideally, a CPA offering financial planning services should also have the PFS designation.
EA (Enrolled Agent)
An enrolled agent (EA) is a tax professional authorized by the United States government to represent taxpayers in matters regarding the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Enrolled agents are required to prove their proficiency in every aspect of taxes, ethics, and representation. They offer tax planning, tax preparation, and representation services for businesses and individuals. If your tax situation is overly complex, an advisor with an EA designation can help.
CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
Considered the most exclusive and most difficult title to achieve, the CFA designation requires multiple monitored exams, working as an investment professional for a minimum of four years, and committing to a code of ethics and standards of professional conduct.
This title is granted by the CFA Institute, founded in 1959. However, it is unlikely that an individual investor would deal with a CFA. CFAs are generally research analysts employed by investment banks, mutual fund companies, and securities firms. They typically specialize in a particular industry and the companies operating within that industry.
CTFA (Certified Trust and Financial Advisor)
The American Bankers Association confers CTFA certifications to trust and wealth management professionals who offer fee-based services. To qualify for the CTFA certification, individuals must meet specific levels of experience (depending on their level of education), pass a comprehensive exam, and agree to abide by a code of ethics. This designation is valuable for advisors that act as trustees and executors of trusts.
Working with a Financial Advisor in San Diego
To summarize, there are three primary factors in selecting your financial advisor in San Diego. First, know how your advisor is being compensated. As someone seeking financial advice, you want to make sure the advice is what’s best for you. Look for transparency from the advisor, free from conflicts of interest.
Next, it’s important that you determine that the advisor has the knowledge and experience to help you. What are your needs? Do you need help with planning retirement? Is your primary concern to get out of student debt? Today, you can most likely find a specialist that is familiar with your challenges and needs.
Working with an advisor that is highly credentialed demonstrates their commitment to education. Economic and legislative changes need constant vigilance. It’s important that your advisor understand what these changes mean to you. Your financial plan is never static and changes from year to year. We hope this information is helpful in finding the right San Diego financial advisor for you.
Accredited Retirement Plan Consultant (ARPC) – issued by the Society of Professional Asset-Managers and Record Keepers (SPARK) after completing comprehensive study and examinations to provide the knowledge required for competent and effective performance of retirement plan consultant.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP(R)) – An experienced financial planner certificant who has completed courses of study and passed examinations in areas such as insurance, securities and taxes. Additionally, CFP(R) certificants are required to disclose ethical standing and comply with the CFP Board Code of Ethics. The designation is awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
CFA Institute – The international professional organization for financial analysts and portfolio managers. Its main purpose is to promote professionalism within the industry with a primary focus on ethical conduct. The CFA Institute also sponsors the CFA designation, the defacto standard for professional money managers.
Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) – This designation is the nation’s foremost professional designation for men and women in life insurance field services and management. The American College awards the designation to persons who fulfill rigorous educational, experience, and ethical requirements.
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) – The designation is awarded to people who complete a ten-course program of study, 20 hours of supervised examinations, and fulfill stringent experience and ethical requirements.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA(R)) – The CFA designation is awarded after completion of a three-year academic program and three years of experience in a finance-related position. Typically, CFA charterholders are employed by mutual fund companies, insurance companies, pension plans, or other institutional money managers.
Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS) – issued by the College for Financial Planning to individuals who complete coursework and examinations to specialize in creating, implementing and maintaining retirement plans for businesses.