5 ways to get financial planning help on a budget

Financial Planners

3. Robo-advisors

If you love technology and are looking for a free or low-cost way to manage your portfolio, consider a robo-advisor. In some cases, there is little or no human interaction. Based on individual circumstances, these programs may use algorithms and software to build and manage portfolios that automatically recalibrate and optimize for tax purposes.

Some, such as SoFi Automated Investing and Ally Managed Portfolios, do not charge management fees. We may also charge an AUM fee of 0.25% to 0.50%.

Both Fidelity Investments and Schwab offer robo-advisors. Fidelity’s Fidelity Go robo-advisor is free up to $25,000 in balance, but charges a 0.35% annual fee after balance exceeds $25,000. This includes unlimited 1:1 coaching calls. Schwab does not charge for using the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Robo-Advisor, but if you would like to speak to a CFP, you will pay.

4. Online financial planning

These services offer customized plans with investment management sessions conducted via phone or video services. They may charge you an AUM fee, or a flat fee starting at about $1,000 per year.You may be asked to pay separate fees for financial planning and investment management.

For example, Betterment Premium provides unlimited phone access to CFP. The minimum account amount is $100,000. Empower and Facet Wealth offer his CFP, a dedicated CFP who will work with you to build your investment portfolio and create a complete financial plan, and whose fees reflect your costs. Empower has a management fee of 0.49% to 0.89% and a minimum balance of $100,000. Facet pricing starts at $2,000 per year and includes a free initial consultation.

As an all-in-one approach, Range offers a menu of services including financial planning, investments, college savings, taxes, real estate planning, retirement and insurance optimization. Memberships can be purchased for $2,400/year or $4,800/year for various services. The investment management fee is 0.25%.

5. Target Date Fund

Your main goal is to invest for retirement, you want to keep it as simple as possible, and you know when you want to retire. Consider a target date retirement fund, also known as a target date fund or life cycle fund.

These funds are designed to be long-term investments for people with their retirement date in mind and are named Portfolio 2030, Target 2030, Retirement Fund 2030 and more. They are often mutual funds that offer a mix of stocks and bonds. Other investments that gradually shift according to the Fund’s investment strategy and become more conservative as the target date approaches.

Ultimately, target dating funds, often available through 401(k) plans, may be the cheapest option for those who are simply worried about where to invest their money.

The ABCs of Financial Planning

You shouldn’t go to a doctor without a medical degree, and you shouldn’t go to a financial advisor or planner without an approved credential. Here are some of the most common financial her planning designations.

CFA: Chartered Financial Analyst. CFA certification is awarded to those who pass three very difficult tests and meet the experience requirements.

CFP: Certified Financial Planner. CFPs pass rigorous tests on many aspects of tax, estate planning, and investing, and are required to participate in continuing education programs to maintain their skills and certifications.

ChFC: Certified Financial Consultant. Like CFP, ChFP takes a holistic view of a client’s entire financial life and helps them reach their goals with a comfortable amount of risk.

PFS: Personal Finance Specialist. This designation is for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) who have received additional training in financial planning.

To find a financial advisor who puts your interests first, use AARP’s Interview an Advisor tool.

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